VCU Blogs

A chemical designed by Youzhong Guo, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry, has been launched on the market. The chemical, called CHEAPS, maintains both the biochemical properties of cholesterol and the balance of hydrophobic (water-repellant) and hydrophilic (water-attracting) properties necessary for protein and cholesterol interaction research.

Guo and his team created this molecule, in part, due to their ongoing research on membrane proteins as drug targets. While conducting this research, Guo and his team discovered that existing chemicals on the market often had water solubility that was too high or too low for cholesterol research or the existing chemicals did not keep the biochemical properties of cholesterol intact. The team developed CHEAPS as an alternative to existing products and published a 2021 paper in Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) – General Subjects on the design, synthesis, characterization and application of CHEAPS.

CHEAPS will be a convenient research tool for those working on cholesterol-related research and may be used as a lead for new drug discoveries, Guo says.

“Better research tools, such as CHEAPS, can help us understand the structure and active mechanisms of many human membrane proteins,” Guo says. “Consequently, the advanced knowledge of membrane proteins will provide greater insights into what causes certain diseases/conditions and will create many possibilities to develop novel treatment strategies for membrane protein-related human diseases.”

Congratulations, Dr. Guo and team!

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