Scientists report the successful design of molecules that change shape in response to pH changes. (pH is a chemical scale from basic to acidic.) The researchers set out to create synthetic proteins that self-assemble into designed configurations at neutral pH and quickly disassemble in the presence of acid. The results showed that these dynamic proteins move as intended and can use their pH-dependent movement to disrupt lipid membranes, including those on the endosome, an important compartment inside cells. This membrane-disruptive ability could be useful in improving drug action. Bulky drug molecules delivered to cells often get lodged in endosomes. Stuck there, they can't carry out their intended therapeutic effect.
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