A large protein found in spinach may aid in the development of new medications for millions around the world dealing with alcohol use disorders, chronic pain, and mood disorders, researchers said. The study, led by researchers from the Purdue University, discovered two peptides which are naturally metabolic products of Rubisco — a large protein found in many plants like spinach, which will aid within the development of latest medications. “These disorders are presently not adequately managed,” same Richard van Rijn, the professor at Purdue.
“Better medications that take an additional holistic approach and manufacture fewer aspect effects are going to be helpful. “We discovered that these peptides by selection activate the identified helpful pathways while not activating the ‘side-effect pathways’ of the receptor,” van Rijn additional.
The discovery, published in the European Neuropsychopharmacology, aims to develop molecules that only activate the cellular signaling pathways associated with their therapeutic effect. Preclinical studies suggest that the peptides are orally bioavailable and able to penetrate the blood-brain barrier, both of which are necessary for a drug to effectively treat a disorder of the central nervous system, van Rijn said.
The researchers are actively pursuing synthetic and computational strategies to improve these peptides to make them more effective. The rubiscolin peptides are also being investigated for their ability to regulate dietary intake and are even commercially available in anti-aging skin products.