August 6, 2009
For nearly a decade, researchers at the Midwest Center for Structural Genomics (MCSG), an international consortium led by Andrzej Joachimiak at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, have been patiently cracking the genetic code of important proteins. Using X-ray crystallography, researchers sketch an image of a protein’s atomic structure–laying the basis for further studies and treatments by scientists all around the world. On Friday, July 17th, they deposited their 1,000th protein structure into the Protein Data Bank.
With the structure in hand, other researchers can design molecules to improve or block that protein’s function–providing the basis for important new therapies. Each new structure goes into the Protein Data Bank, an international database of protein structures that can be accessed by researchers from around the world.
In addition to its direct work on proteins, the MCSG continues to refine its techniques–speeding up the imaging process for researchers all over the world. It has published more than 200 papers describing new tactics for high-throughput structural biology such as HKL3000, a new semi-automated system for controlling structure determinations experiments. Seventy-five percent of the 1,000 new structures have been determined in the past four years, and Argonne researchers believe they will be able to further improve quality and efficiency.
For more information, visit the Argonne Midwest Center for Structural Genomics website.