The Protein Structure Initiative (PSI), a national program aimed at determining the three-dimensional shapes of a wide range of proteins, has now determined more than 1,000 different structures. These structures will shed light on how proteins function in many life processes and could lead to targets for the development of new medicines.
Crystal structure of a protein with unknown function from Leishmania major, a parasite of the human immune system.
The PSI is a 10-year, approximately $600 million project funded largely by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), part of the National Institutes of Health. The first half of this project—a pilot phase that started in 2000—has centered on developing new tools and processes that enable researchers to quickly, cheaply, and reliably determine the shapes of many proteins found in nature.
"One thousand protein structures is a significant milestone for the PSI, and it shows an impressive return on the investment in the technology and methods for rapid structure determination," said Jeremy M. Berg, Ph.D., director of NIGMS. "These structures are interesting in their own right and provide the basis for modeling many important proteins."
The Structural Genomics of Pathogenic Protozoa Consortium, http://www.sgpp.org/
The TB Structural Genomics Consortium, http://www.doe-mbi.ucla.edu/TB/
The pilot phase of the PSI will end in mid-2005. Centers for the second phase will be announced in July 2005.
In addition to NIGMS, the PSI currently receives funding from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a component of the National Institutes of Health.
For more information about the PSI, please visit http://www.nigms.nih.gov/psi/. To schedule an interview with Jeremy M. Berg, Ph.D., or John Norvell, Ph.D., please contact the NIGMS Office of Communications and Public Liaison at 301-496-7301.
NIGMS is one of the 27 components of NIH, the premier federal agency for biomedical research. The NIGMS mission is to support basic biomedical research that lays the foundation for advances in disease diagnosis, treatment and prevention.
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