Via Red Orbit, Friday, 17 June 2011
Although scientists have been able to sequence the genomes of many organisms, they still lack a context for associating the proteins encoded in genes with specific biological processes. To better understand the genetics underlying plant physiology and ecology—especially in regard to photosynthesis—a team of researchers including Carnegie's Arthur Grossman identified a list of proteins encoded in the genomes of plants and green algae, but not in the genomes of organisms that don't generate energy through photosynthesis. Their work will be published June 17 in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
Using advanced computational tools to analyze the genomes of 28 different plants and photosynthetic organisms, Grossman and his colleagues at the University of California in Los Angeles and the Joint Genome Institute of the Department of Energy were able to identify 597 proteins encoded on plant and green algal genomes, but that are not present in non-photosynthetic organisms. They call this suite of proteins the GreenCut.
Interestingly, of the 597 GreenCut proteins, 286 have known functions, while the remaining 311 have not been associated with a specific biological process and are called "unknowns.