The European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) has tailored new molecules that can block the LTC4 synthase, an enzyme process that catalyzes the chemical synthesis causing asthma attacks.

Scientists from the Karolinska Institute and the University of Stockholm in Sweden, together with colleagues from the European Molecular Laboratory in France have solved the three-dimensional structure of the LTC4 synthase at 2.0 Ångstrom resolution. The 3D structure zeros in on the exact position where blocking molecules can bind.

The study of this protein at the ESRF proved a challenge for the team. The crystallization of membrane proteins is a complex process to begin wth and even more so if they are human. So far only three human membrane proteins have been structurally characterized.

Since some 40% of the proteins of interest for pharmaceutical developments are membrane proteins, the researchers said the new results could lead the way to more effective medications against other diseases.