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Targeting African Sleeping Sickness

The enzyme RNA editing ligase is required for the survival of the Trypanosoma brucei parasite that causes this devastating tropical disease. The enzyme is a promising drug target because no close human homolog is known, making it easier for researchers to design a drug with few side effects. The RNA editing ligase (in pink and purple area) is bound at the active site to an ATP molecule (ball and stick) atop the predicted binding site. In research supported by the NIH and the NSF, simulations on SDSC's DataStar supercomputer revealed an additional adjacent cavity which is now being targeted for development of new drugs.
Image courtesy of R. Amaro and J. A. McCammon, UCSD.
Source: San Diego Supercomputer Center, UC San Diego

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