Knowing how binding mechanism works could aid in drug design — ScienceDaily

Scientists have discovered that a human receptor protein has the ability to detect individual amino acids in exactly the same way that bacteria do.

The finding could lead to enhancements of drugs derived from the amino acid GABA, but also has evolutionary implications: It adds to the sparse evidence suggesting there are commonalities between bacteria and humans with respect to sensing the presence of essential components of life, such as oxygen and food.

Receptors on cell surfaces detect all kinds of nutrients — fats, sugars and vitamins, for example — but use different types of protein segments called sensors, and no common chemical detection mechanism is currently known.

In this work, scientists discovered a universal sensor present in many different receptors that detects amino acids by precisely interacting with the two groups of atoms that are shared by all amino acids.


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