Universität Innsbruck


New ways to counter inflammation - Computer aided discovery of multi-target anti-inflammatory natural products


Plant based medicines have been used throughout history and all over the planet to battle all varieties of ailments. Natural products often interact with the animal organism and show a wide array of health benefits while generally causing fewer harmful side effects than most synthetic drugs. While there are a lot of plant based medicines already in use, there is still a lot to learn about key active compounds and their mechanism of action. While synthetic drugs mainly focus on specifically interacting with a single protein target, natural products often interact with the organism via a poly-pharmacological mechanism, interacting with multiple proteins at once. This makes it especially challenging to elucidate their mechanism of action.

This project aims to find novel anti-inflammatory natural products with the aid of computational methods. We create computational models of the interaction patterns between small molecule ligands and protein targets involved in inflammation (cyclooxygenase-1 and -2, 5- and 15-lipoxygenase, 5-lipoxygenase-activating protein, soluble epoxides hydrolase, microsomal prostaglandin E2 synthase 1, and leukotriene C4 synthase). These models can then be used to computationally screen large compound databases to search for molecules that display a similar interaction pattern and consequently have a high likelihood of interacting with the protein in the biological experiment.

We will create a set of such computational models, focusing on the structural properties of natural products and validate their predictive ability by biologically testing the virtual hits.

Ultimately the validated models will be used in search of natural products that target multiple proteins. These poly pharmacologically active compounds are expected to have a high efficacy in vivo and to display a highly favorable side effect profile. By this process, we aim to identify not only active ingredients in plant based medicines but also novel anti-inflammatory compounds from natural sources, especially from food plants.


Nach oben scrollen