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Structural biology of novel domains


A major problem raised by whole genome projects is that many novel putative proteins of unknown function are identified - for example, it is estimated that >40% of human proteins identified as a result of the human genome remain to be structurally and functionally characterised. One method of attacking this problem is to use database-searching techniques such as PSI-BLAST to identify similarity between a protein of unknown function and a well-characterised family. However, if such a relationship cannot be identified what alternatives are there? One method is to use structural genomics - i.e. determine the structure of a domain of unknown function in order to provide clues as to its biochemical function.

Project details:

We will express and purify various novel protein domains identified in project 1, with the aim of determining their 3-dimensional structure via X-ray crystallography. This project will take advantage of the state-of-the-art X-ray crystallography facility that is currently being established in the Department of Biochemistry.