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Chemistry Publication Includes
UT Work on Enzyme Inhibition

Recent work on enzyme inhibition by Dr. Corey Johnson, a research fellow in the Division of Medicinal Chemistry, has been highlighted in an online feature of the American Chemical Society, JACS Select.

Linsky and Johnson
Graduate student Tom Linsky (left) worked on the research team led by Dr. Corey Johnson, research fellow, (right) in the lab of Dr. Walter Fast, associate professor of medicinal chemistry.

JACS Select showcases recent significant publications in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, the society's flagship journal, and contains articles handpicked by a guest editor for their "high scientific quality and broad appeal."  Johnson's work was featured in an issue devoted to "Chemical Mechanisms in Biochemical Reactions."

In the article, Johnson describes his efforts to reveal the mechanism of a new type of inhibitor called 4-halopyridines that had not previously been known as an enzyme inactivator.  Although Johnson's work focuses on developing novel therapeutics for treating cancer and septic shock, his new type of inhibitor holds promise for application to a wide range of drug discovery projects. 

"We were unable to find any previous literature discussing this type of inhibitor, and so were quite excited about finding out how it works," he said. 

The inhibitor is an unusual type called a "quiescent" inactivator because it is unreactive until it binds to the enzyme, but then "wakes up" and reacts to form an irreversible bond that blocks enzyme function. 

"I couldn't be more proud of Corey as well as the rest of our research team," said Dr. Walter Fast, associate professor of medicinal chemistry within the College of Pharmacy and Johnson's advisor.  Other members of the team include Tom Linsky, graduate student; Dr. Dae-Wei Yoon, postdoctoral fellow; and Dr. Maria Person, research scientist and director of UT's Protein and Metabolite Analysis Facility. 

"This work was only possible because of excellent collaborative opportunities, with Dr. Person in the College of Pharmacy, and with the high-throughput screening facility in the Texas Institute for Drug and Diagnostic Development," Fast added.

A digital copy of the article is available online at:

Last Reviewed: October 6, 2011

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