Ann Conkle
Feb 16, 2012

New molecular map will guide treatment of multiple sclerosis

A team of scientists from the Scripps Research Institute, collaborating with members of the drug discovery company Receptos, has created the first high-resolution virtual image of cellular structures called S1P1 receptors, which are critical in controlling the onset and progression of multiple sclerosis and other diseases. This new molecular map is already pointing researchers toward promising new paths for drug discovery and aiding them in better understanding how certain existing drugs work. The molecular structure, described in the February 17, 2012 issue of the journal Science, is unique as the first-ever-to-be-determined lipid G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR). Molecules of this type play important roles in everything from cancer to metabolism, and this recent success should pave the way for researchers to establish the structures of other family members.