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Protease Structure
Sep 24, 2011

A news report today said that a new computer program has enabled gamers to help figure out the structure of protease and that this breakthrough will lead to new drugs being developed. There are already lots of protease inhibitors on the market so I don't understand two things, 01. how were the current protease inhibitors developed if the structure of protease was not known, 02. how will these new drugs be different from the current protease inhibitors. It sounds to me as though there are different kinds of protease but I have never heard of protease being labeled as to there being more than one kind.

Response from Dr. Young

Hi and thanks for posting.

The HIV protease inhibitors were designed with the knowledge of the atomic structure of the HIV protease. What's new is the idea of using gaming technology to get communities of people involved in design of drugs.

There are multiple protease enzymes throughout biology, including in viruses and humans. What makes this work for HIV and HCV is that they each have one key protease and the enzymes are exquisitely specific for the viral precursor proteins (and not human proteins).

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