Bryan Roth's lab has partnered with scientists at the University of California, San Francisco to create a general tool to probe the activity of orphan receptors, illuminating their roles in behavior and making them accessible for drug discovery. The creation of the research tool – which involves computer modeling, yeast- and mammalian cell-based molecular screening techniques, and mouse models -- was published in the journal Nature.
According to Xi-Ping Huang, PhD, first author and research assistant professor at UNC, this work will help researchers learn how orphan receptors interact with molecules inside the body or with drugs. “Orphan receptors could be a great source of therapeutics,” Huang said. “But it has been difficult to study them. The research community has needed an approach that works, and that’s why we put so much effort into this.”
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