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aTyr, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, The Scripps Research Institute and Stanford University Join in the Discovery of a New Class of Human Proteins
Date:7/17/2014

SAN DIEGO and HONG KONG, July 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- aTyr Pharma, an innovative rare disease therapeutics enterprise, and its subsidiary in Hong Kong, Pangu Biopharma (aTyr), announced the discovery of a new class of human proteins with therapeutic relevance for a wide range of diseases.  The findings unveiled today in a publication in Science further supplies the basis for aTyr's ongoing clinical studies in the areas of rare diseases and represents an entirely new and unmined area of human biology for therapeutics.

Scientists from aTyr, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) and Stanford University reported for the first time that an entire enzymatic gene family can generate novel splice variants that possess non-enzymatic, extracellular activities.  Using deep sequencing, mass spectroscopy, protein purification techniques and parallel cell-based assays, the team found nearly 250 new proteins with previously unidentified activities spanning from stem cell biology to immunology.  The vast majority of these novel proteins, called Physiocrines, lacked catalytic domains from the gene family, thereby creating new cellular functions.

The aminoacyl tRNA synthetase gene family is required for life as an essential component of protein synthesis, from bacteria to fruit flies to rodents to humans.  Over the course of evolution, new roles developed for this gene family, which are outside protein synthesis, and which reveal a deep new layer of previously unknown and unexplored biology.

"We believe this work will enable us to harness the regulating power of these proteins to heal disease states where human physiology is dysregulated," said John Mendlein, Ph.D., CEO and Executive Chairman of aTyr and co-author of the study.  "During evolution this ancient
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