"The consortium was initially conceptualized by a group that included John Wooley and Susan Taylor at University of California San Diego (UCSD), Ray Stevens at Scripps, Keith Hodgson and Peter Kuhn at Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL), and Scott Lesley and Pete Schultz at the Genomics Institute of Novartis Research Foundation (GNF)," Wilson said. "The timing was right for us to establish this centerthe NIH Protein Structure Initiative was about to begin in 2000. We were one of seven centers that were awarded pilot grants that year through the NIH-PSI to investigate whether high-throughput biology, which was termed structural genomics, was even feasible."
Structural genomics employs typical structure determination methods of X-ray crystallography and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), but required building high-throughput pipelines to go from gene to structure. The first step was to construct such a pipeline using sophisticated automation and parallel processing so that almost every stage in the process could be optimized for throughput from target selection, protein production, and crystallization to structure determination. In that way, large numbers of target proteins could be tackled at one time, which enabled the JCSG and other high-throughput centers to capitalize on the opportunities afforded by the genome sequencing centers that were starting to release a deluge of genome sequencing data from bacteria to human at an every increasing rate. Hence, structural genomics emerged in part to address the challenge and opportunity to convert the gene sequences into three-dimensional structures.
The JCSG consortium comprises scientists at Scripps Research, UCSD, SSRL, GNF, and Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute.
Wooley, associate vice chancellor of research at UCSD, says that this special issue of Acta Crystallographica demonstrates the maturation of the large-scale collaboration among these fiv
|Contact: Mika Ono|
Scripps Research Institute