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Molecular and Biochemical Pharmacology Group

The research in Molecular and Biochemical Pharmacology group is mainly centered on the metabolism of xenobiotics, including drugs and endogenous compounds, by conjugation with glucuronic acid. Such glucuronidation reactions are catalyzed by an array of UDP-glucuronosyltransferases (UGTs), and we are interested in these processes from the point of view of both the enzyme and the aglycone substrate. We have cloned all 19 human UGTs of subfamilies UGT1A, UGT2A and UGT2B; and, we express them by using baculovirus-infected insect cells. The recombinant proteins are used for multiple studies on the structure, function, and substrate specificity of individual human UGTs. Additional lines of research include enzyme-assisted synthesis of glucuronide metabolites, development of specific UGT inhibitors, drug metabolism within Caco-2 cells, and development of screening methods for the interactions of UGTs with different chemical libraries. The study of recombinant UGTs is also at the basis of several productive scientific collaborations with different academic and industrial laboratories, both in Finland and abroad, and we welcome new collaborations with interested partners.



Dr. Finel’s main research interest is in drug metabolism; mainly, in various aspects of drug glucuronidation and the human UDP-glucuronosyltransferase (UGT) enzymes that catalyze the glucuronidation of xenobiotics and endobiotics.

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