Now that the human genome and the genomes of dozens of different organisms have been solved, scientists all over the world are busy analyzing this genetic information. An important part of this analysis are efforts that look at how genes are expressed as proteins. Structural biology is an important part of this research because its outcome, high-resolution three-dimensional structural information, provides insights into the correlation between protein structure and function. Some day scientists may be able to interpret and catalog the structures and functions of all the proteins in the human body, which will reveal a wealth of information on the biology of human health and disease.
"Everybody feels that structural biology needs better tools for producing certain types of proteins, particularly for membrane proteins," says Scripps Research Professor Raymond Stevens, Ph.D., who is the principal investigator on the new grant.
Stevens has spent the better part of the last decade developing high-throughput structural biology tools. He has found that solving structures has become much easier and faster in general, but there are still certain types of proteins that present technological challenges that must be overcome before they yield to high-throughput methods. These include eukaryotic proteins, proteins that are involved in interactions with other proteins, and integral membrane proteins -- a mere fraction of the structures contained in the Protein Data Bank are of integral membrane proteins, despite the fact that more than a third of all pr
Contact: Jason Bardi
Scripps Research Institute