We support research groups at the Crick by synthesising peptides, peptide arrays and small molecules for use in experiments to study how biomolecules (e.g. proteins) interact with each other.
Peptides are linear polymers made up from the 20 common amino acids, joined together like beads on a string in any order. They vary in length from two to 80 amino acids. Most peptides have the same order of amino acids but may be modified by dye labels or other alterations.
We assemble and modify these peptides by chemical synthesis on a solid support. This process is known as 'solid phase peptide synthesis'. Once we have assembled the amino acids with any necessary modifications, we check and purify the peptide.
Peptides form part of many experiments: as part of protein-protein interaction studies, as enzyme substrates or as standards for mass spectroscopy analysis. Peptides can also be used to transport active molecules into cells, to purify proteins, or to synchronise budding yeast cultures. Peptides can be used to raise antibodies against sites of modification within proteins.
These experiments allow Crick researchers to study in detail how proteins interact with each other. For example, researchers use peptides to work out which proteins repair damaged DNA. This gives insight into how small molecule drugs which interact with repair proteins could be used to treat disease such as cancer.
We also undertake small molecule synthesis by solution phase chemistry techniques and can produce enzyme substrates, mass spectrometry standards and cross-linking reagents as well as compounds which modulate how proteins interact with each other.
We are experts in chemistry and host Crick researchers in the chemistry lab by providing synthesis expertise and safety supervision as well as fume hood space. We help Crick researchers select high quality small molecule probes to find the best tool compound to test their biological hypothesis.