PRAGUE The team of Pavel Jungwirth from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, in cooperation with colleagues from the Czech Republic and Germany, has described an unknown mechanism of passive peptide transport to cells without intermediary. The easy transport of drugs directly into cells is one of the goals of the pharmaceutical industry. The Institute informed it in today's press release. The research results were published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States (PNAS).
The ability of short peptides to penetrate into cells was first seen in HIV studies and is now being used to transport drugs to cells. So far, it is most often done through a transport pouch, the so-called vesicle, which separates from the cell membrane and surrounds the transported substance. From the pouch, the healing molecule must be released again, which, according to scientists, may be a technical complication for the effective transport of the drug.
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Peptides can also pass into cells without passive energy assistance. Jungwirth's team, using fluorescence and electron microscopy and computer molecular simulations, has uncovered a mechanism that is based on membrane fusion induced by the conveyed peptides themselves. However, according to Jungwirth, the practical use of discovery can only be speculated.
Jungwirth has been working with his team for a long time on molecular processes in the cell membrane, opening up new possibilities for controlling these processes, and potentially even more efficient ways to transport drug molecules to the site of action.
Jungwirth has published more than 280 works in international journals including Science, Nature Chemistry, and PNAS. He is also an editor of The Journal of Physical Chemistry published by the American Chemical Society. He also popularizes science in Respekt, Czech Radio and Czech Television.