June 2010

JBC Minireview Explores Another Scientific Intersection

In the fourth minireview, Gabriel M. Simon and Cravatt describe activity-based protein profiling, a technique in which reactive chemical probes are used to identify the targets of small molecule drugs, characterize members of enzymes families or screen for inhibitors.

2010 Meeting Compendia

If you didn’t get copies of the 2010 ASBMB Annual Meeting Compendia, you can still download them. Titles include:
• Initiating DNA Replication and Transcription
• Protein Synthesis
• Drug Discovery and Design
• Genomes, Proteomes and Development
• Nutrient Sensing & Signaling
• Lipids: On the Move
• Building Protein Complexes

Next, Kanak Raina and Craig M. Crews describe chemical alternatives to RNA interference to probe the function of selected proteins in living cells, for example sending specific proteins to the proteasome by targeted ubiquitination of the protein of interest. These methods might overcome RNAi limitations like off-target effects and difficulty in dealing with long-lived proteins.

In the final minireview, Maurizio Renna, Maria Jimenez-Sanchez, Sovan Sarkar and David C. Rubinsztein describe a related approach, using chemical inducing agents to promote the autophagy and clearance of protein aggregates that underlie neurodegenerative diseases — this could have tremendous therapeutic benefits.

These six minireviews may only provide a small sampling of the diverse field of chemical biology, but they certainly should convey the excitement surrounding this dynamic area and the great potential that chemical applications hold in solving important biological problems.

Look for future minireview series exploring cross-disciplinary topics, including a series on antibiotic synthesis and one on single-molecule studies. 

Nick Zagorski (nzagorski@asbmb.org) is a science writer at ASBMB.

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