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Contact: Evan Lerner
University of Pennsylvania
Caption: Hydrophobic groups on the exterior of the mu opioid receptor makes experimenting on new painkilling drugs difficult, since the receptor can't be taken out of cellular membranes and put in solution. Penn researchers set out to design a free-standing variant of this receptor. Starting with its gene sequence, they built a computer model of the receptor, then identified the exterior groups that needed to be replaced in order for the receptor to be soluble. After finding a combination that would not overlap in space, they recombinantly produced the variant in E.coli and tested them against the receptor's natural antagonists.
Credit: Jose Manuel Perez Aguilar
Usage Restrictions: With credit.
Related news release: Penn Researchers design variant of main painkiller receptor