Courtesy of Michael Kahn

Synthetic Molecule Turns Off Asthma-Invoking Protein

Asthma's trademark is a complex inflammatory response in the lungs that produces swelling and mucus, therefore making it difficult to breathe. One of the main components of this disease is an oxidant/antioxidant imbalance that can trigger production of activator protein-1 (AP-1).

Researchers have designed a novel synthetic molecule with the power to target and turn-off this asthma-invoking protein (C. Nguyen et al., "Chemogenomic identification of Ref-1/AP-1 as a therapeutic target for asthma," Proc Natl Acad Sci, 100:1169-73, 2003). Using a chemogenomics approach, pathobiologist Michael Kahn and his colleagues at the Pacific Northwest Research Institute (PNRI) in Seattle developed a number of potential small- molecule inhibitors of AP-1 transcription. Once investigators identified molecular PNRI-299 as the best candidate, they tested it in murine asthma models.

In their study, PNRI-299 decreased airway swelling and mucus production. "PNRI inhibits AP-1 transcription of...

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