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Rutgers to lead $52.7 million protein research program

ntelione and his consortium partners, including researchers at Columbia University, conducted a $36 million NIGMS pilot program to develop new methods and tools to streamline and speed many of the laborious steps involved in generating protein structures. The researchers applied the new technologies to determining three-dimensional structures of approximately 200 proteins, representative of some of the 100,000 protein families that are estimated to exist in nature.

These structures, in turn, have provided templates for predicting models of over 40,000 protein structures using methods of structural bioinformatics. Other NIGMS pilot program centers brought the total to about 1,500 structures which can be used to model thousands of other proteins in each of the families they represent.

"Already, these structures have given us new insights and allowed us to discover the functions of proteins that weren't recognized before," said Montelione, a professor of molecular biology and biochemistry at Rutgers and a resident faculty member of the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine (CABM), a research institute jointly administered by Rutgers and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

"Montelione's dedication and the committed efforts of other groups at CABM and around the country are generating exciting new information and advancing the frontiers of science," said CABM Director Aaron J. Shatkin.

"We have even discovered several potential antibiotic drug targets and drug screening assays for which we have submitted patents," Montelione said. "However, there are many protein families that still do not have known structural representatives."

NIGMS has now funded four of the strongest pilot program centers, including NESG, as Centers for Large-Scale Structure Production. The focus is shifting to a production phase in which the new centers will use methods developed during the pilot period to rapidly determine thousan
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Source:Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey


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