In a recent research has identified two possible ways to develop new drugs that treat high blood pressure and heart disease.

The research was led by K. Ravi Acharya of the University of Bath in the UK, in collaboration with Elwyn Isaac from the University of Leeds in the same country, and Edward Sturrock of the University of Cape Town in South Africa.

molecular structure of ace

The authors of the new study imaged three-dimensional molecular structures of two peptides; one derived from snake venom, which inhibit the enzyme ACE, a crucial protein regulates blood pressure.

Millions of people worldwide take ACE inhibitors such as captopril, to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) and heart disease. However, these drugs can cause side effects such as cough and angioedema (swelling of the face and throat).

In the new study, the team obtained images BPPb peptide, derived from snake venom, by binding to ACE. Though they identified this peptide as a potential model for drug design, is the first time scientists have observed a molecular scale how the peptide binds to the ACE and blocks its action.

BPPb peptide binds to a major portion of the molecule active site of ACE, extracting a zinc atom which is essential for proper operation.

The finding may open the door to the design of new drugs to combat hypertension based on this peptide.