Chemistry

A Better Sort of Beads

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  30 Apr 2010:
Vol. 328, Issue 5978, pp. 548
DOI: 10.1126/science.328.5978.548-b

Combinatorial libraries are widely used to find new active compounds—for example, in drug discovery. Traditionally, the library compounds are attached to a solid support, but this approach has several drawbacks. An alternative is the use of beads that are uniquely encoded, such that an active compound can easily be identified with optical methods. Meldal and Christensen have now developed a bead-encoding approach, termed MPM (microparticle matrix) encoding, that allows very large numbers of beads to be encoded rapidly and reliably, with automated screening and detection of active compounds. In a test scenario involving 3000 beads, the technique enabled identification of avidin ligands from a focused compound library.

Rasmussen et al. combined this methodology with virtual screening (in which the compound library itself is designed through computational screening of chemical building blocks) to identify small molecules for use in protein purification. They showed that the ligands thus discovered could efficiently isolate the targeted protein from a complex fermentation mixture.

Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 49, 10.1002/anie.200906563; 10.1002/anie.200906602 (2010).

Navigate This Article