An enzyme modified to hydrolyse cocaine 1000 faster than it did before could form the basis of the first medicinal treatment for cocaine addiction. Not only can the enzyme swiftly chop cocaine into inactive metabolites but modification of the enzyme has not affected its selectivity towards other natural substrates.
Cocaine is one the most widely used illegal drugs in the world. Unlike many other commonly abused substances, there are no proven medications available to treat cocaine addition. The health consequences of cocaine abuse are severe and addicts can cause significant societal problems. Finding an addiction treatment is therefore of the utmost importance.
Substrate selectivity of high-activity mutants of human butyrylcholinesterase
Chang-Guo Zhan et al.
Org. Biomol. Chem., 2013, Advance Article