Interdisciplinary Initiatives Program Round 4 – 2008

Brian Kobilka, Molecular & Cellular Physiology
Annelise Barron, Bioengineering

G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) are involved in virtually every process in the human body and represent the largest family of human drug targets. Due to high similarities in the structures of many GPCRs, many drugs targeted to one type of receptor can also interact with other similar receptors and lead to a number of undesirable side effects. There is clearly a need to develop new GPCR-targeted drugs with improved selectivity and strong binding to specific receptors. The Kobilka and Barron labs are working to create mimics of peptides called peptoids and test them for their ability to add receptor specificity and affinity to alprenolol, a known binder to the β2-adrenergic receptor, which is a target for cardiac and asthma drugs. In the spirit of BioX-supported interdisciplinary research, this project combines the Barron lab’s expertise in chemical engineering, peptoid synthesis, protein mimicry, and biophysics with the Kobilka lab’s insight into receptor biology structure, function, and physiology, and holds enormous medical potential for developing a new class of drugs for this important family of receptors.