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Argonne researchers contribute 1000th structure

Researchers at the Structural Biology Center (SBC) at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory have contributed their 1,000th structure to the Protein Data Bank. The data bank houses the molecular structures of all proteins characterized so far and makes them available to researchers worldwide to study.

This structure and its 999 predecessors determined with data obtained at Argonne's SBC provides important pieces to the puzzle of understanding human and environmental health by imaging the molecules that control and regulate it.

The 1,000th deposit is a three-dimensional structure of thrombospondin-1 that provides insight into how cells sense and communicate information about their health and how that information triggers cell responses ranging from raising defenses to fight disease and other perceived threats to cell death.

Thrombospondins are a family of extracellular glycoproteins that regulate cellular behavior during tissue genesis and repair such as wound healing. These functions are mediated by its interaction with a proteins and proteoglycans in the extracellular environment and at the cell surface.

The research was published in Structure (2006 Jan. 14 (1): 33-42), and is a collaboration between the Dana Farber Cancer Institute of Harvard Medical School and Argonne's SBC.

"SBC has been a pioneer of protein structure determination at the APS and worldwide," said Argonne's Associate Laboratory Director for Scientific User Facilities Murray Gibson. "This is a marvelous achievement."

Some of the structures have revealed how proteins are synthesized inside the cell (ribosome), how we see light (rhodopsin), how cells communicate (integrin) and how cells differentiate (gene regulatory factors). Other findings have shed insight into origins of diseases including cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, and infections by human pathogens causing staph, anthrax and other infectious diseases.

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Contact: Catherine Foster
cfoster@anl.gov
630-252-5580
DOE/Argonne National Laboratory
30-Jan-2006


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