Ph.D., University of Bergen, Norway (2002).
Professor of Chemistry
Department of Chemistry
School of Chemistry and Materials Science
University of Science and Technology of China
Hefei, Anhui 230026, P. R. China
Bio-inorganic Chemistry and Chemical Biology.
Metallodrugs: from Mechanism Study to Drug Design
Inspired by the clinical application of cisplatin, the world-widely used antitumor drug, various metal complexes have been synthesized and a number of metal complexes have entered clinical trials. Currently, we focus on the mechanism study of platinum drugs, especially unconventional platinum-based drugs. The interactions of metallodrugs and biomolecules are investigated by NMR, Mass spectrometry, fluorescence and other biophysical techniques. Based on our understanding of metallodrugs from mechanism studies, we also try to design and synthesize some new metal complexes and drug conjugates, and test there antitumor activities.
Intein: A novel target for anti-TB drugs
Intein catalyzes the protein splicing by removing itself from precursor proteins and ligating the two flanking segments through a native peptide bond. Intein has been widely used in protein engineering, such as making segmentally isotope-labeled proteins for NMR studies in our lab.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis harbors three inteins in critical genes and their protein products, and post-translational removal of the inteins is required for function of the respective enzymes. Inteins are therefore potential targets for antimycobacterial agents. Based on the splicing emchanism studies, we hypothesized that metal complexes can be inhibitors of protein splicing and therefore the potential anti-mycobacterial agents. We demonstrated that the platinum complexes can inhibit protein splicing in vitro and in bacteria, and efficiently prevent the growth of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. This discovery validates intein as drug targets for metal complexes in mycobacteria, and provides a novel approach for anti-TB drug design.
NMR Studies: Protein Structure and Dynamics
NMR is the major technique throughout all projects in our research. Whenever it is applicable, we will use NMR to study the structure of protein, DNA, and their complexes. We also use NMR to characterize the interaction between drugs and proteins, and study the dynamic properties of proteins.