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A collaborative study just published from the Potter group in the Department of Pharmacology, in collaboration with the Butler Group at Loughborough University, reveals the development of a small molecule Europium-based probe that could deepen our understanding of a crucial cellular messenger and potentially facilitate the development of new therapeutic drugs.

The study, entitled “Expedient synthesis and luminescence sensing of the inositol pyrophosphate cellular messenger 5-PP-InsP5“, was recently highlighted with  “Pick of the Week” status in the RSC’s Flagship journal Chemical Science, being also placed in the “2023 HOT Article” category and showcases an innovative probe that binds myo-inositol polyphosphate 5-pyrophosphate (5-PP-InsP5), emitting a bright red light. The intensity and duration of this light can be measured to quantify levels of the messenger, paving the way for a deeper understanding of its precise functions.  Until now no 5-PP-InsP5-specific probes existed. The first author is Megan Shipton, a recent D.Phil student from the Potter Group, whose creative synthetic chemical efforts were fundamental to the study. The Article was also selected for the cover image below designed by the authors.

5-PP-InsP5 plays a fundamental role in various biological processes, including cell growth, programmed cell death, and enzyme regulation with new roles still emerging. It was recently found to be a key regulator of blood glucose levels. Due to its diverse cellular roles 5-PP-InsP5 is an attractive target for drug development. Moreover, other inositol pyrophosphates and regioisomers are still emerging in biology, so methods to detect, synthesize and exploit these are also necessary and will be facilitated by these timely techniques, hopefully enabling many further developments in the area.

Read the Article by Shipton et al:  https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlepdf/2023/sc/d2sc06812e

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