29 Sep 2010   |   News

1,000th structure of a disease-related protein is revealed

The Structural Genomics Consortium has announced the publication of its 1000th structure, of a protein known as JmjD2C.


The Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC), an international public-private partnership set up to elucidate the three-dimensional structures of medically important proteins announced the publication of its 1000th structure, of a protein known as JmjD2C.

“This milestone reinforces the advantages of open innovation partnerships between the public and private sectors,” said Aled Edwards, Director of the SGC.

JmjD2C belongs to a class of proteins involved in epigenetic signalling. “JmjD2C is already known to play a key a role in the maintenance of self-renewal in stem cells, as well as roles in cancer,” says Udo Oppermann of SGC Oxford, who led the team solving the 1000th structure. “Now that its 3D structure is in the public domain, we hope that this will spur other scientists to investigate its functions more deeply and understand [its role] more clearly.”

SGC comprises 180 scientists at labs at the universities of Oxford and Toronto, and the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm. The international collaboration, set up in 2004, is supported by public and private-sector funding. All research output is made available to the research community free from restriction on use. In 2009, the SGC contributed nearly a third of all new human protein structures deposited in the Protein Data Bank.

The vast amount of information generated by the SGC provides insight into molecular function, and is expected to have a great impact on human health by providing a structural framework for the rational chemical design of new or improved drugs that can inhibit or enhance protein function.

Since its launch, the SGC has identified the key protein structures involved in all aspects of cellular function, linking them to diseases including cancer, inflammation, diabetes, neurological disorders and infection.

Alan Schafer, Director of Science Funding at the UK research charity the Wellcome Trust, said SGC has achieved a remarkable milestone in depositing its thousandth structure in the public domain. “This success demonstrates the value of the public-private partnership model avoiding duplication of effort and allowing maximum benefit to the whole research community.”

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