Drug design nixed

The discovery of a supercaffeine molecule could pave the way to a novel treatment for Parkinson's disease but the studies also lay bear a flaw in targeting receptors based on conventional crystal structures. The work of Ad IJzerman and Rob Lane at Leiden University and colleagues at the Scripps Institute in La Jolla in the United States, suggests that many models used in drug design may be incorrect. In clarifying the structure of the adenosine A2A receptor for caffeine the team discovered that the active site is very different in the conventional crystal structure from that observed when the protein is crystallized in a more natural fatty environment mimicking the cell membrane. The findings could have repercussions across the field of drug design.