Proteins are molecular machines that control every function of the body as well as each individual cell. The binding of active substances to the pockets of proteins is thus of great importance for the pharmaceutical treatment of diseases: the tighter the protein-binding molecules are attached to the pockets, the firmer is the bond – and the more efficient the drug.
The protein-binding molecules can be identified as they cause a chemical reaction on the surface of proteins, where an enzymatic reaction is started. The dye is split, and there is an increase in fluorescence. "We are able to kill two birds with one stone," says Jörg Rademann. "With the fluorescence, we are able to filter out of thousands of molecules those that are stored in a particular protein pocket. That way we can gain valuable information about the reactivity of the protein surface, and this information can also be used for the development of new drug molecules."