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Protein structure initiative launches new resources for the scientific community

r John Norvell, Ph.D. "By centralizing the availability of these materials, we put valuable resources at researchers' fingertips that can free up time to explore important scientific questions."

To date, the PSI research centers have produced more than 100,000 clones. Norvell expects the current centers to produce a total of 20,000 clones annually.

Knowledgebase

In fall 2007, the PSI will establish a "Knowledgebase" that will serve as a headquarters for structural information generated by its centers. For every protein, scientists will be able to find the best available information about the structure and biological function. The Knowledgebase also will offer experimental details about each stage of the protein structure determination process, regardless of whether the structure was successfully determined. Information about current PSI proteins being solved will be listed. In addition to searching these details, scientists will be able to submit requests for protein structures they'd like the PSI to determine.

The PSI centers will continue to deposit all solved structures in the Protein Data Bank (www.pdb.org), an international structural database. So far, the centers have generated more than 1,700 structures from both simple and complex organisms. The majority of these are novel, sharing little structural resemblance to others in the PDB.

Technology Development

As the four large-scale PSI centers concentrate on churning out structures, the six specialized centers will continue to develop methods and tools that lead to more efficient and successful determination of challenging protein structures, such as membrane proteins and large protein complexes.

Many of the technologies conceptualized during the first phase of the PSI have been commercialized and are already being used in labs both large and small.

Such advances include:

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Source:NIH/National Institute of General Medical Sciences


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