The purpose of our research is the conformational analysis and 3-D structural elucidation of peptides and proteins of biological interest with an especial focus on their dynamic behavior at molecular level. Our range goes from small cyclic depsipeptides of less than 10 residues to proteolytic enzymes of more than 70,000 molecular weight. We use a variety of instrumental and computational tools with a special focus however, on the use of high-field nuclear magnetic resonance.
Our main interest is the design and synthesis of peptide molecules that are able to recognize specific hot-spots at protein surfaces. We use this knowledge to modulate protein-protein interactions. Furthermore, we have the know-how required to design and synthesize peptides able to modulate these recognition events either permanently or in response to light. We are also highly interested in unveiling the relevance of protein dynamics in the molecular recognition events that take place at protein surfaces. The methodological tools that we use for all these purposes are: computational methods, combinatorial chemistry, high-field NMR and mass-spectrometry.
Peptides are destined to play a major role as therapeutic agents. Our laboratory in Barcelona is contributing to speeding up this process. On the one hand, we devote efforts to studying the molecular details and dynamics of the events that occur during molecular recognition at protein surfaces. On the other hand, we are discovering and designing peptides able to cross biological barriers. Our aim is to use these peptides as shuttles for targeting therapeutic agents to organs, tissues, or cells, with a special emphasis on drug delivery to the brain. In recent years, we have addressed our efforts towards fighting against cancer, schizophrenia, infectious diseases, and Friedreich’s ataxia.