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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

gene family played a critical role in cellular life – catalysis of protein synthesis.  Our international effort to understand this enzymatic gene family now leads us to a completely new horizon for all of human physiology – the alternate use of a gene family for non-catalytic regulation of basic physiological processes of humans, such as stem cell biology, immune pathways, vascularization and metabolism.  We feel very privileged to have completed the work with our colleagues from HKUST, Stanford University and TSRI and the visionary influence of Dr. Paul Schimmel, Ernest and Jean Hahn Professor of Molecular Biology and Chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute (California and Florida) who also holds an appointment at the Institute for Advance Study (IAS) at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology."

Professor Mingjie Zhang, IAS Senior Fellow and Kerry Holdings Professor of Science, Division of Life Sciences, who is also a co-author, said, "This breakthrough finding uncovers a vast new area of biology and provides opportunities to develop protein-based therapeutics.  This work marks a successful collaboration between scientists at HKUST, TSRI, aTyr Pharma and Pangu Biopharma.  It serves as a wonderful example showing close connections between basic research and biotechnology therapeutic development."

The paper, "Human tRNA Synthetase Catalytic Nulls with Diverse Functions," was published in the July 18, 2014 issue of Science, doi: 10.1126/science.1252943.

About Physiocrines
Among their various homeostatic functions, some Physiocrines act as extracellular signaling molecules to orchestrate immuno-homeostasis in response to stress and other physiological changes. Physiocrines comprise naturally occurring proteins derived from tRNA synthetases that play fundamental roles in the function
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