|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, September 26, 2000
Contact: Alisa Zapp Machalek|
NIGMS Structural Genomics Awards Scale Up Protein Structure Studies
- Five institutions in the New York City area have joined to form the New York Structural Genomics Research Consortium, which will develop techniques to streamline every step of structural genomics. The consortium expects to solve several hundred protein structures from humans and model organisms ranging from bacteria to humans. (Stephen K. Burley, The Rockefeller University)
- The Midwest Center for Structural Genomics, a consortium of seven institutions, seeks to reduce the average cost to determine a protein structure from $100,000 to $20,000. The group will select protein targets from all three kingdoms of life (Eukarya, Archaea, and Bacteria), with an emphasis on previously unknown folds and on proteins from disease-causing organisms. (Andrzej Joachimiak, Argonne National Laboratory)
- The Structural Genomic Center aims to speed up structure determination by X-ray crystallography. It will focus on two bacteria with extremely small genomes to study proteins essential for independent life. The bacteria, Mycoplasma genitalium and Mycoplasma pneumoniae, are closely related. The former contains the smallest genome of any free-living organism and infects the human genital and respiratory tracts. The latter causes a form of pneumonia. (Sung-Hou Kim, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)
Researchers in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Washington State, and Ontario, Canada have formed the Northeast Structural Genomics Consortium, which will target proteins from various model organisms--including the fruit fly, yeast, and the roundworm and related human proteins. This consortium will use both X-ray crystallography and NMR spectroscopy to determine protein structures. (Gaetano Montelione, Rutgers University)
A collaboration of scientists in six countries have formed the TB Structural Genomics Consortium to determine and analyze the structures of about 400 proteins from Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The group seeks to optimize the technical and managerial underpinnings of high-throughput structure determination and will develop a database of structures and functions. NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is cofunding this project with NIGMS, anticipates that this information also will lead to the design of new and improved drugs and vaccines for tuberculosis. (Thomas Terwilliger, Los Alamos National Laboratory)
- The Southeast Collaboratory for Structural Genomics, with its core in Georgia and Alabama, will analyze part of the human genome and the entire genomes of two representative organisms--the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans and its more primitive microbial ancestor, Pyrococcus furiosus. The group emphasizes technology development, especially for automated crystallography and NMR techniques. (Bi-Cheng Wang, University of Georgia)
- The Joint Center for Structural Genomics, centered in California, is developing high-throughput methods for protein production, crystallization, and structure determination. It will initially focus on novel structures from C. elegans and on human proteins thought to be involved in cell signaling. It will also determine the structures of similar proteins from other organisms to ensure the inclusion of the greatest number of different protein folds. (Ian Wilson, The Scripps Research Institute)
To arrange an interview with Dr. Marvin Cassman, NIGMS Director, or with Dr. John Norvell, director of the Protein Structure Initiative, call Alisa Machalek in the NIGMS Office of Communications and Public Liaison at (301) 496-7301.
More information about the NIGMS Protein Structure Initiative is available at http://www.nih.gov/nigms/funding/psi.html.