NKI scientists unravel function of mysterious tunnel in clinically important enzyme


Autotaxin is an important enzyme that is involved in numerous cell signaling processes. For a large part, it's structure and function is known. But the enzyme contains a mysterious tunnel with an unknown function. The team of Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI) researcher Anastassis Perrakis, together with the team of Ronald Oude-Elferink from the Amsterdam Medical Center (AMC), now show that certain natural steroids can bind inside this tunnel and inhibit the function of the enzyme. This not only gives a suggestion for the molecular basis for the therapeutic effect of bile salt based drugs, but also has several other potential clinical implications.

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