The Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC) has just announced the release of its 1000th high-resolution protein structure.
The Consortium was formed in 2004 as an international non-for-profit partnership to determine the three-dimensional structures of medically relevant proteins. All research results are made available to the public domain without restriction on use and protein structures are deposited in the Protein Data Bank (PDB). The SGC's 180 scientists are based at the Universities of Oxford (UK) and Toronto (Canada) and Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm.
The 1000th structure, JmjD2C, belongs to a class of proteins involved in epigenetic signalling. It is known to play an important role in the maintenance of self renewal in stem cells and in cancer. Scientists believe that a better understanding of epigenetics will lead to discovery of novel treatments for a wide range of diseases.
The SGC adopted a systematic approach to solving of relevant protein structures by targeting entire protein families such as protein kinases, as well as potential drug target classes. In 2009, the SGC contributed nearly a third of all new human protein structures deposited in the Protein Data Bank (PDB), and a similar fraction of protein structures from pathogenic protozoa. Since its formation, the SGC has identified the key protein structures involved in all aspects of cellular function and linked them to diseases such as cancer, inflammation, diabetes, neurological disorders and infection.
Information generated by the Consortium provides a structural framework for the rational chemical design of new or improved drugs that can inhibit or enhance protein function. It proves to be a highly valuable resource to the entire biomedical research community and its research output is expected to have a great impact on human health.
Sources: Wellcome Trust press release, Structural Genomics Consortium