LifeSensors is a company centered around one specific protein: ubiquitin. Believe it or not, something as small as one protein can be the key to unlocking very large doors. Ubiquitin is one of the most widespread proteins in existence, and is crucial to maintaining cellular homeostasis. Pennsylvania-based biotechnology company LifeSensors is creating tools to more easily hijack this protein and use it to fight disease.
Ubiquitin is a small regulatory protein found in most tissues of eukaryotic organisms, i.e., it is found ubiquitously in plants and animals. When ubiquitin molecules bind to a protein, it marks that protein for degradation by proteasomes. The discovery of ubiquitin in the 1970s rocked the world of cell biology, and the scientists who discovered it eventually received the Nobel Prize. But researchers are just beginning to understand the full potential of ubiquitin.
This ubiquitin proteasome system presents exciting opportunities for research, and LifeSensors is a leader in this arena. They offer scientists tools to both study ubiquitin, and to hijack it to degrade their choice of problematic proteins. This technique of hijacking ubiquitin relies on protein targeting chimers (PROTACs®), a custom double-headed protein. One ends binds to the protein of interest, and the other binds to a ubiquitin ligase, an enzyme which then recruits ubiquitin to the target protein and flags it for destruction.
PROTACs could help solve an old and stubborn problem. Many proteins in the human body make promising therapeutic targets, but are challenging to actually target. However, ubiquitin can bind to any protein in the body, making it far easier to target specific proteins. Furthermore, while existing pharmaceuticals focus on inhibiting proteins, PROTACs can actually destroy them. LifeSensors partners with companies and organizations to help create PROTACS for their proteins of interest.
To streamline and improve the productivity in the lab, LifeSensors has relied on Quartzy for years. “The ordering process is so much smoother.” says Katie Sheets, a LifeSensors Scientist and Laboratory Manager. “I don’t have to question where a package is at. It’s all right there.” adds Katie. “We keep all our purchase orders on Quartzy so I can review them and keep the lab organized. I can see when it’s been a while since we ordered something. If a researcher asks me if they already ordered something, I can easily check.” With juggling two roles and multiple responsibilities, having quick access to accurate information is imperative for Katie and her team.
“The operations team audited Quartzy account users last year to determine who needed an account. ‘You’re not taking away my account,’ Katie announced to them. For her and other LifeSensors employees, Quartzy is an essential productivity tool. ”
Quartzy has provided LifeSensors with significant time and cost savings over the years. The operations team audited Quartzy account users last year to determine who needed an account. ‘You’re not taking away my account,’ Katie announced to them. For her and other LifeSensors employees, Quartzy is an essential productivity tool.
Through a streamlined, user-friendly platform, LifeSensors is able to put their time and energy where it is most needed: innovating ubiquitin tools that can give scientists around the world new ways to study and treat disease.
*PROTAC® is a registered trademark of Arvinas Operations, Inc., and is used under license.