LSU Logo Scientists attempting to introduce improved asthma medications can probably benefit from the following discovery. In a major breakthrough, investigators laid hands on a novel 3-D model of asthma-causing inflammation enzyme called Human 5-Lipoxygenase, or 5-LOX. This molecule is believed to produce inflammatory compounds that provoke asthma.

Inflammation appears as a healthy response in reaction to considerably harmful presences in the body. However, when it starts in the lungs and builds up to a full-fledged asthma attack, inflammation can probably be fatal. Displaying a transient nature, 5-LOX seems to be extremely unstable and is prone to destabilization. On accurately applying the technique to the enzyme, experts were able to detect the complex pathway of how the molecule shuts itself off. With the help of a machine that makes the inflammatory compound stable enough to study, the 3-D structure was seemingly developed.

“This molecule is responsible for starting the synthesis of compounds referred to as ‘signaling molecules,’ which cause inflammation. If we can look at this molecule in closer detail than we have previously been able to do so, then that will allow for the development of better asthma medications that are able to stop an attack more effectively,” remarked, Professor of Biological Sciences Marcia Newcomer.

Understanding the structure of this enzyme in greater detail can possibly aid in targeting it efficiently and cause fewer side effects. Scientists presume that the newly developed model can serve as a target for coming up with more effective asthma treatments. The research findings apparently have greater significance in the medical world.

The research was published in Science on January 14.