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NIH funds multicenter 'glue grant' to study enzyme function
Date:5/21/2010

May 21, 2010 (BRONX, NY) A multi-institutional team of researchers, including scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, has received a prestigious National Institutes of Health (NIH) "Glue Grant" to develop a strategy for discovering the structure and function of unknown enzymes identified in genome-sequencing projects.

The research could improve understanding of the metabolic and chemical diversity that exists in nature and may result in new drug targets for treatments. It may also lead to new enzymes that could prove useful for catalyzing industrial reactions. Over the next five years, the team will receive $33.9 million, of which Einstein will receive approximately $11 million.

Glue Grants, which are issued by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), a division of the NIH, provide resources to tackle complex problems that are of central importance to biomedical science and beyond the means of any one research group.

In recent years, scientists have sequenced the genomes of thousands of organisms, from bacteria to humans, encompassing more than 10 million genes. But it's not clear what many of these genes do or which proteins they code.

"The specific functions of perhaps half of these genes and the proteins they make are unknown or have been mistakenly characterized," says co-investigator Steven C. Almo, Ph.D., professor of biochemistry and of physiology & biophysics at Einstein. "The consortium will be working to close this gap."

NIGMS currently funds a total of five such multicenter projects. This Glue Grant, known as the Enzyme Function Initiative (EFI), will focus on enzymes proteins that catalyze the chemical reactions required for life and enable organisms to live in complex environments and to adapt to a variety of conditions.

"The knowledge gained from our EFI will give us a better sense of the breadth of enzymatic and metabolic activities th
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Contact: Deirdre Branley
sciencenews@einstein.yu.edu
718-430-3101
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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