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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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Proteomics Takes a Leap
26 July 2001 7:00 pm
In this era of high-speed biology, studying proteins can be maddeningly slow: Their complex chemistry and delicate 3D shapes make them hard to analyze. But a breakthrough may speed things up dramatically. In a paper published online today by Science, researchers report creating a protein chip that can analyze 5800 yeast proteins all at once. Such chips could aid research--and clinical diagnostics--by quickly revealing the partners with which thousands of proteins interact.
The new protein chip is a close cousin to DNA chips, postage-stamp-sized surfaces dotted with nucleic acid sequences that can track the activity of thousands of genes in a tissue at once. Although DNA chip technology is commercialized and now widely used in research labs, scientists have struggled for years to make similar chips to analyze the full proteome, the collection of all proteins in a tissue or even an organism. But most chips so far can only analyze a handful of different proteins
That record has now been shattered by Yale University biochemist Michael Snyder and his colleagues at Yale and North Carolina State University in Raleigh. To do so, they first cloned 5800 yeast genes, inserted the genes into other yeast cells, and coaxed the bugs to overexpress the proteins, which they laboriously purified and collected. They then used a now-standard DNA array robot to dab rows of tiny samples of each yeast protein atop a glass microscope slide. To find out what the yeast proteins bind to, they spritzed the slide with a solution of test proteins. Adding a fluorescent label then highlights the spots where the test proteins bound.
Using several versions of this technique, Snyder and his colleagues were able to rapidly identify the proteins that interact with the thousands of arrayed yeast proteins. And in so doing they managed to discover 33 new proteins that bind calmodulin--a widespread protein involved in calcium sensing--and 52 proteins that bind phosphotidylinositides, cell membrane proteins involved in growth, differentiation, and cytoskeletal rearrangements.
"This is a biochemist's dream, to be able to look for any activity over the entire proteome," says Eric Phizicky, a biochemist at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York. In hopes of fulfilling more dreams, Snyder has launched a New Haven, Connecticut-based company called Protometrix to make protein chips. He will have plenty of competition. Over a dozen companies are currently racing to commercialize protein chips, laying claim to an emerging market that is estimated to grow to $500 million annually by 2006.