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Fighting Bird Flu
To ward off avian influenza, which some fear may one day trigger a world-wide pandemic, researchers are scurrying to develop new flu drugs to complement the current arsenal which includes Tamiflu and Relenza. In a paper published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, a team led by UC biochemists described the nanosecond-by-nanosecond movements of a key enzyme called N1, needed to spread the infection to new cells. The simulation, performed on SDSC's DataStar supercomputer, described the interaction of two chemical "loops" in creating a "hot pocket" region that could represent a potential target for new drugs capable of blocking N1's activity. The image here shows N1, with the anti-viral Tamiflu bound in the active sites (silver). Rommie Amaro, a postdoctoral fellow in the UCSD laboratory of J. Andrew McCammon, said her group has identified several potential inhibitors of interest.
Image: R. Amaro, UCSD
Source: San Diego Supercomputer Center, UC San Diego
Additional info:Rommie Amaro research page at the UC San Diego McCammon Lab