Like customers tracking package deliveries, researchers can now follow drug receptors moving along the membrane of a living cell.
Scientists at St. Jude and Columbia University worked together to create a tracking system. The focus is on a family of receptor proteins. One-third of drugs rely on the proteins to transmit signals from outside to inside cells.
The result is a method that can precisely track how these proteins change shape and position as they bind to drugs. The information could lead to a new generation of drugs that work more precisely and have fewer side effects.
“This is just the beginning of a new avenue for exploring life inside the human cell,” said Scott Blanchard, PhD, of Structural Biology.
A report on this research appeared in Nature Methods.