Fierro Huerta, Angélica

Angélica Fierro H.
(56-2) 2354 1171
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Associate Professor
PhD in Chemistry
Universidad de Santiago, 2007






The research focus of our group involves investigations of structure-function relationships in different macromolecules such as: enzymes, receptors and transporters responsible for the control of monoamines concentration in the central nervous system and its interaction with different ligands.

The Monoaminergic System (MS) has been commonly used as a target in the development of useful centrally acting drugs. Thus, we are interested in obtaining new insights about the MS mammals and insects as biological targets to design selective compounds.

In mammals, the monoaminergic system is mainly constituted by the neurotransmitters: Serotonin (5-HT), Dopamine (DA) and Noradrenaline (NE), their receptors, and their associated metabolic enzymes and transporters that reuptake the neurotransmitters. A different MS of fundamental importance in invertebrates is the Tyraminergic/Octopaminergic system.

One of the most studied systems in our group has been the Monoamine Oxidases, flavoproteins involved in the monoamines degradation. In these system using experimental and computational methodologies we design and evaluate phenethylamine derivatives as inhibitor or substrate and studies related with the degradation mechanism have been done.

On the other hand, using computational tools receptors and transporters have been studied in order to describe the three-dimensional structure and the conformational changes associated to the mechanism process.

In addition, we are collaborating with groups of the other disciplines in order to:
-Elucidate the structure of natural compounds responsible for some biological activity.
-Understand the structural requirements of organic compounds to interact with different kinds of macromolecules (non-monoaminergic receptors and enzymes; macrocycles, etc).

To sum up, using chemical, biochemical and biophysical approaches we are obtaining insights about: the three-dimensional structure of (bio)macromolecules; the main interactions involved in complexes drug-protein; the mechanism of reuptake/degradation of substrates and inhibitors; and designing new ligands with better affinity and/or selectivity.