Yale University researcher Michael Snyder and his colleagues have created the first microchip able to analyze virtually all yeast proteins, the chemicals that carry out the activities necessary for life.
The new protein chip holds promise for significant advances in the study of the function of proteins in other organisms beside yeast, including humans. "Most development occurs through the interactions among proteins," said Snyder, professor and chair of the Yale Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology. "Diseases can arise when proteins do not interact properly. This technology allows us to get at the function of many of the different proteins far faster than current methods. This is opening up whole new areas that have never been approached before."
Besides increasing knowledge about how proteins function, the new protein chips could speed the development of new diagnostic methods, advancements in drug discovery, and improvements in therapies for diseases.
Announcement of the development of the new protein chip came in the July 26 online version of the journal Science and appeared in an article published in the September 14 issue.
Development of the new protein chip was based on previous knowledge of the identity of all 6,200 genes in a yeast cell. Each gene encodes for a protein, which interacts with other proteins to develop and sustain cell life. Prior to the Yale scientists' discovery, studying proteins on a large, nearly complete scale had never been done, and many scientists believed it was not possible.
Snyder, who is also co-director of the recently announced Yale Center of Excellence in Biomedical Computing, directed the study, which involved the collaboration of Heng Zhu, a post-doctoral fellow in his laboratory, and other Yale colleagues, along with investigators from North Carolina State University. They cloned and purified 5,800 different yeast proteins, representing 80 percent of the
Contact: Karen N. Peart