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Protein structure initiative launches new resources for the scientific community

Now that the Protein Structure Initiative (PSI) has established efficient pipelines for determining the three-dimensional shapes of proteins, it is creating new mechanisms for sharing the resources it has developed with the scientific community.

The 10-year PSI effort, which started in 2000 and is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of General Medical Sciences, funded a materials repository in September. Next year, it will create an information hub where researchers can search for and submit structural information. Meanwhile, PSI scientists will continue to develop new methods and tools for protein structure studies that are being commercialized by industry for mainstream use.

Information about protein structures can reveal the roles that these molecules play in health and disease and may point the way to designing new medicines.

"The first five years of the PSI were devoted to developing methods, technologies, and pipelines to speed the structure production process and reduce its cost," said NIGMS Director Jeremy M. Berg, Ph.D. "The products of these efforts have been available to the scientific community, but the new resources should dramatically enhance accessibility."

PSI-Materials Repository

The Harvard Institute of Proteomics (www.hip.harvard.edu), part of the Harvard Medical School in Boston, Mass., will operate the PSI-Materials Repository (PSI-MR). With $5.4 million in funding over five years and under the direction of Joshua LaBaer, M.D., Ph.D., the new PSI-MR will store and ship PSI-generated clones, which can be used to make specific proteins for studies on their structure and function. Researchers will be able to order clones for a minimal fee to cover processing, handling, and shipping.

"Producing clones is an essential--and often time-consuming--step in the protein structure determination process," said PSI D
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Contact: Emily Carlson
carlsone@nigms.nih.gov
301-496-7301
NIH/National Institute of General Medical Sciences
6-Nov-2006


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