The Protein Structure Initiative (PSI), an effort supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has launched an online resource that will enable scientists from across biomedical disciplines to easily access a wealth of information about proteins and to speed discovery about these molecules.
The new portal, the PSI Structural Genomics Knowledgebase (PSI SGKB), is an entry point to all of the protein structure and production resources created by the PSI, a program started in 2000 to ascertain the three-dimensional structures of thousands of proteins. To date, the PSI research centers have generated 2,800 protein structures, and, in the process, developed techniques that significantly improve the steps of structure determination.
"Many of these products have always been available, just not all in one place," said Jeremy M. Berg, Ph.D., director of NIH's National Institute of General Medical Sciences, which supports the PSI. "The ability to search the resources developed through the PSI should help a wide range of scientists make use of them to advance their own studies."
The PSI SGKB is designed primarily for biologists who, while not protein structure experts, may want to know more about a particular protein related to their research in genetics, biochemistry, pharmacology, bioinformatics, clinical medicine, or other areas.
From the home page, researchers can enter the sequence of a protein into a search box to quickly find the corresponding structure and ones like it, plus details about function and reports on how the structures were generated. A glossary of terms and acronyms helps to translate the information.
The site is a gateway to other useful information, including descriptions of new technologies and methods, a list of publications detailing key findings, supplemental funding opportunities for functional studies, and links to resources outside of the PSI. The site's users also can easily access the PSI-Materials Repository, a resource under development for ordering PSI-generated clones that can speed studies of protein structure and function.
Researchers may visit the PSI SGKB site to learn how to make a protein of interest or find out about tools they could use in their labs. They also could identify potential collaborators and read about the latest developments in a particular area of structural biology.