July 2010

A Look at the PSI Biology Initiative

For more information

• Information about the PSI-Biology Program and these funding opportunities.

• The PSI-Nature Gateway Structural Biology Knowledgebase.

• To nominate targets for structure determination by the PSI centers.

• The PSI-Material Repository.

Joshua LaBaer (Arizona State University) then talked about the PSI-Material Repository, which is now maintained by DNASU. This resource collects, sequence verifies, stores and distributes clones and vectors developed by the PSI. Plasmids are available individually or in thematic collections (e.g., all members of a protein family or derived from a given species). Processes have been developed to accelerate material transfer agreements.

John Gerlt (University of Illinois) described his interaction with the current PSI large-scale centers as a model for the way PSI:Biology is expected to work. His team used bioinformatics analysis of genomes to identify targets of unknown function within large enzyme megafamilies. Next, a large-scale center solved the structures of many of these targets. Gerlt’s team then used a combination of in silico and in vitro methods to identify potential substrates for these enzymes.

And finally, Susan Taylor (University of California, San Diego) commented on how the PSI:Biology network could benefit many researchers working on diverse problems. Some of the areas mentioned in the funding announcements include families and complexes of proteins and metabolic pathways or cellular compartments or that may be important in specific disease states.

Thus, PSI:Biology provides resources to benefit researchers beyond simply determining structures.

Peter C. Preusch (preuschp@nigms.nih.gov) is chief of the biophysics branch in the division of cell biology and biophysics at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.


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