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Scientific Highlight
Scripps Press Release
Wilson Research
Janda Research


27 March 2006

  Complete Reaction Cycle of a Cocaine Antibody

Cocaine abuse remains a major public health problem despite ongoing research aimed at developing therapies to counter its harmful effects. Immunopharmacotherapy is one proposed therapy which would block cocaine in the blood stream before it reaches the central nervous system. Cocaine-binding antibodies seem likely candidates for soaking up drugs in the blood stream, but their only binding abilities are not sufficient to withstand high concentrations of the drug. What is needed is a monoclonal antibody with high binding characteristics and sufficient catalytic ability to metabolize cocaine. The Wilson and Janda groups at The Scripps Research Institute are hopeful that they have found these properties in 7A1, a catalytic monoclonal antibody that has the ability to regenerate after each new dose of the drug. Aided by x-ray crystallography, their research has revealed for the first time the complete reaction cycle of a 7A1 Fab' antigen binding fragment. The high resolution crystal structures revealed the conformational changes that occur during the antibody's complete catalytic cycle and provided a molecular basis for catalysis. Understanding these significant structural changes of the antibody is a promising step towards the development of a treatment for cocaine addiction.

To learn more about this research see the full scientific highlight at:

Zhu, X., Dickerson, T.J., Rogers, C.J., Kaufmann, G.F., Mee, J.M., McKenzie, K.M., Janda K.D. and Wilson I.A. Complete reaction cycle of a cocaine catalytic antibody at atomic resolution. Structure, 14, 205-216 (2006).