| Analgesics

International Team Targets Pain

Using Cryogenic Electron Microscopy

In an article in the Cell journal, scientists from China and the University of North Carolina School of Medicine have researched the structural framework of opioid receptors in an effort to build better pain management and limit side effects. “This collaboration revealed conserved, or shared, mechanisms of activation and recognition of all four opioid receptors, as well as differences in peptide recognition that can be exploited for creating subtype-selective drugs. We provide more needed information to keep pushing the field forward, to answer basic science questions we hadn’t been able to answer before now,”commented Jeff DiBerto, graduate student, first author, and PhD candidate.

The article summary states, “we systematically characterize the binding of endogenous opioid peptides (EOP) to respective opioid receptors and present five structures of EOP-OR-Gi complexes… These structures, supported by biochemical results, uncover the specific recognition and selectivity of opioid peptides and the conserved mechanism of opioid receptor activation.”


Access the article.

Read the press release.

Holly Caster