We keep on highlighting OpenLabs created at KFU in 2014. Today our focus is on Structural Biology Lab. We have discussed its goals with Marat Yusupov, the head of the laboratory, Doctor of Kazan University, Professor of Strasbourg University.
Our priority goal today is to create a methodological base for researches in structural biology. Scientists of the field focus on exploring the structure of macromolecules and macromolecular complex, thus, describing the mechanisms of chemical reactions proceeding in a cell. It is the most developing science nowadays.
Researches use three approaches to study the structure of macromolecules: NMR-spectroscopy, cryelectron microscopy, and X-ray structure analysis. Kazan University has been used the first two methods for many years, whereas the third one is an innovation here.
Future of national pharmacy
Now we are launching two new projects: “Methyltransferase” and “Hypusine”. Both are aimed at developing innovative drugs. Structural biology enables to explore mechanisms of drugs interaction with active cell molecules. Our task is to learn about this activity.
The projects differ in the following: Methyltransferase is based upon the study of the methyltransferase structure of ribosome RNA and may be considered an educational project. The goals of Hypusine are scientifical Thules. Hypusine is a modified amino-acid of a protein synthesizing enzyme. This enzyme's activity and its modification are essential for a cell. Hypusine is produced from spermidine in two stages controlled by two additional enzymes. The moment we learn how to manage this process, we'll be able to inhibit the behavior of active molecules. It will enable to develop new drugs.
Key to success
It is not enough to involve biochemistry experts into the project in order to successfully implement our ideas. It is crucial to invite physics experts aware of enzymes study methods described earlier, and chemists able to synthesize drugs and, thus, optimize them. Now we are busy with building relations between KFU divisions working in the lab. Effective cooperation of physicists, chemists, and biologists will help solve structural biology problems of new drugs development.
We are going to partner with other research centres. First of all, here we speak about Ribosome Structure Lab of Strasbourg University that I head. It will contribute to very specialized academic mobility of KFU students and personnel to study in Strasbourg.
In addition, we are getting in contact with Puschino Research Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow State University, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology where a structural biology lab already exists. We are planning to launch joint projects with these scientific institutions.
It's worth mentioning, that Marat Yusupov and his team were the first to thoroughly study the structure of eukaryotic ribosome. And it is a promising achievement for a Nobel Prize. In 2011 Marat Yusupov's team was awarded a Royal Swedish Academy of Science Prize in Crystallography.