New protein prevents brain damage from pesticides

Category: Brain

A team of researchers from the University of New York (USA) has developed a protein that can counteract the effects of toxic chemicals, including pesticides, to prevent brain damage.

The key of the work is based on detoxification of organophosphates. Those compounds commonly used in pesticides and chemical weapons that can cause permanent damage to the brain. The researchers analyzed proteins known as phosphotriesterases, which have the quality to degrade toxic chemicals.

Organophosphates represent tremendous danger to people and wildlife and unfortunately, it is not unusual that humans contact with these compounds, either through exposure to pesticides or an chemical attack of warfare.

Experts have achieved by computational biology software, finding sequences of phosphotriesterase protein, and subsequently modified it to increase its therapeutic ability to prevent brain damage. The result is a new protein, more stable, with a longer half-life and the same capabilities of detoxification.

The study was published in the ChemBioChem journal. The authors plan to start the development of therapeutic use of this modified protein after their patent is approved.