Chemical reactions are commonly associated to fumes, smells, changing colors, industrial processes, toxic substances and explosives.
So, why would someone aim to develop and carry out chemical reactions inside living organisms?
MolChemBio / Mikula Lab @ TU Wien
Our research group is part of the Institute of Applied Synthetic Chemistry at TU Wien (Vienna University of Technology).
We aim to design and synthesize molecules with new chemical, biological and/or physical properties (Molecular Chemistry) with emphasis on applications in the field of Chemical Biology. Our main interest is the development of bioorthogonal reactions and tools toward new diagnostic and/or therapeutic strategies (Bioorthogonal Theranostics).
Controlled biochemical transformations are essential and omnipresent features of the chemistry of living systems. The development of engineered chemical tools that can recapitulate these fundamental capabilities of molecular assembly and disassembly has initiated the field of bioorthogonal chemistry.
A variety of bioorthogonal reactions have been developed in recent years to achieve safe and selective chemical modifications within the complex and uncontrolled environment of living systems. Bioorthogonal ligations enable the connection of two different moieties inside living systems and inspired an early focus on labeling, modification and tracking of compounds (e.g. pretargeted imaging).
The current diversified effort to develop bioorthogonal bond-cleavage reactions has expanded the scope of applications of in vivo chemistry tremendously. Highly selective and controlled cleavage or release of molecules inside living organisms would allow bioorthogonal on/off-control of biological functions and/or activity (e.g. controlled activation of non-toxic prodrugs via bioorthogonal cleavage to selectively release drugs inside tumors).