Tag Archives: PSI

On a Mission for Protein Information

It’s probably just the human brain’s ability to connect dots  &  find patterns, but it can be interesting how many “unrelated” events and information bits accumulate in my head & eventually get mulled into an idea or theory. Take, for example, a recent biotech mixer, bits from an education leadership series & a past Nature article – each “event” has been meandering in my mind and now they are finding their way out as this blog post.

OK, now the explanation: At a recent local biotech event I heard about a company (KeraNetics) purifying keratin proteins & using them to develop therapeutic and research applications. The company & their research sounded very interesting & because a lot of it is aimed at aiding wounded soldiers, it also sounded directly beneficial. The talk was short, only about 20 minutes, so there wasn’t a lot of time for details or questions. I decided I’d venture forth through many of the bioscience databases and resources that I know and love, in order to learn more about keratin.

My quest was both fun and frustrating because of the nature of the beast – keratin is “well known” (i.e. it comes up in high school academic challenge competitions ‘a lot’, according to someone in the know), but is hard to work with (i.e. tough, insoluble, fibrous structural proteins) that is hard to find much general information on in your average protein database (because it is  made of many different gene products, all referred to as “keratin”). I decided to begin my adventure at two of my favorite protein resources, PDB & SBKB, but I found no solved structures for keratin. Because of the way model organism databases are curated and organized, I often begin a protein search there, just to get some basic background, gene names, sequence information, etc. I (of course) found nothing other than a couple of GO terms in the Saccharomyces Genome Database (SGD), but I found hundreds of results in both Mouse Genome Informatics (MGI) (660 genomic features) and Rat Genome Database (RGD) (162 rat genes, 342 human genes). I also found gene names (Krt*), sequences and many summary annotations with references to diseases with links to OMIM. When I queried for “keratin”, in OMIM I got 180 hits, including 61 “clinical synopsises”, in UniProt returned 505 reviewed entries and 2,435 unreviewed entiries, in Entrez Protein 10,611 results and in PubMed 26,430 articles with 1,707 reviews. I got my curiosity about KeraNetics’ research sated by using a PubMed advanced search for Keratin in the abstract or title & the PI’s name as author (search = “(keratin[Title/Abstract]) AND Van Dyke[Author]“).

I ended up with a lot of information leads that I could have hunted through, but it was a fun process in which I learned a lot about keratin. This is where the education stuff comes in. I’ve been seeing a lot of studies go by talking about reforming education to be more investigation driven, and I can totally see how that can work. “Learning” through memorization & regurgitation is dry for everyone & rough for the “memory challenged”, like me. Having a reason or curiosity to explore, with a new nugget of data or understanding lurking around each corner, the information just seems to get in better & stay longer. (OT, but thought I’d mention a related site that I found today w/ some neat stuff: Mind/Shift-How we will learn.)

And I could have done the advanced PubMed search in the beginning, but what fun would that have been? Plus there is a lot that I learned about keratin from what I didn’t find, like that there wasn’t a plethora of PDB structures for keratin proteins. That brings me to the final dot in my mullings – an article that I came across today as I worked on my reading backlog: “Too many roads not taken“. If you have a subscription to Nature you can read it, but the main point is that researchers are still largely focusing on the same set of proteins that they have been for a long time, because these are the proteins for which there are research tools (antibodies, chemical inhibitors, etc). This same sort of philosophy is fueling the Protein Structure Initiative (PSI) efforts, as described here. Anyway, I found the article interesting & agree with the authors general suggestions. I would however extend it beyond these physical research tools & say that going forward researchers need more data analysis tools, and training on how to use them – but I would, wouldn’t I? :)

References:

  • Sierpinski P, Garrett J, Ma J, Apel P, Klorig D, Smith T, Koman LA, Atala A, & Van Dyke M (2008). The use of keratin biomaterials derived from human hair for the promotion of rapid regeneration of peripheral nerves. Biomaterials, 29 (1), 118-28 PMID: 17919720
  • Edwards, A., Isserlin, R., Bader, G., Frye, S., Willson, T., & Yu, F. (2011). Too many roads not taken Nature, 470 (7333), 163-165 DOI: 10.1038/470163a

Tip of the Week: From UniProt to the PSI SBKB and Back Again


It is often beneficial to visit multiple biomedical databases or resources, even if they seem to provide overlapping  information because no two resources focus on the exact same information, or present it in exactly the same way. Instead of duplicating each others’ curation efforts, database often link out to related information at other resources. You can think of these links as “social connections”, if you want and in today’s tip I want to show you a couple of connections between protein information resources, including a new connection that really features some of the core value of the PSI’s Structural Biology Knowledgebase, or SBKB.

I begin the tip at the UniProtKB, where I search for a UniProt ID number. From the resulting protein report I first briefly show you how to link out to a corresponding RCSB PDB report, where you can find high quality protein structure information and more. If you are interested in learning more about the RCSB PDB & how to use it, please check out OpenHelix’s full, free tutorial that is sponsored by the RCSB PDB.

From there I return to the UniProt report and demonstrate a new link out option that links to protein protocols, available materials, as well as information about theoretical models and predicted protein targets from the SBKB. I don’t have time to show it but a recent update to the SBKB allows users to now search the Structure Biology Knowledgebase with a UniProt accession number. These searches provide users with additional information including protein structure information and information about pre-released structure sequence. As with the RCSB PDB, we have a free tutorial on the SBKB that is sponsored by the Protein Structure Initiative.

As I scroll through the UniProt protein report users will see information and links for a wide variety of bioscience resources. OpenHelix, as I’m sure many of you are aware, has tutorials on how to use many of these resources. Our tutorials on the RCSB PDB and the PSI SBKB are both free. Our tutorials on UniProt and many other resources are available through a subscription to our database of trainings or through purchase of individual access. Whether you learn the resources through our tutorials, through the references I list below, or through your own explorations of the databases, there really is an amazing amount of information available through these interlinked, publicly-funded resources – please make use of them in your research!

Quick Links:

UniProt Knowledgebase -  http://www.uniprot.org/

OpenHelix Tutorial on UniProt – http://www.openhelix.com/cgi/tutorialInfo.cgi?id=77

RCSB PDB – http://www.pdb.org

OpenHelix Tutorial on the RCSB PDB – http://www.openhelix.com/pdb

The Protein Structure Initiative Structural Biology Knowledgebase (SBKB) -  http://www.sbkb.org/

OpenHelix Tutorial on the SBKB – http://www.openhelix.com/sbkb

Catalog of all OpenHelix tutorials – http://www.openhelix.com/cgi/tutorials.cgi

References:
The UniProt Consortium. (2009). The Universal Protein Resource (UniProt) in 2010 Nucleic Acids Research, 38 (Database) DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkp846

Rose, P., Beran, B., Bi, C., Bluhm, W., Dimitropoulos, D., Goodsell, D., Prlic, A., Quesada, M., Quinn, G., Westbrook, J., Young, J., Yukich, B., Zardecki, C., Berman, H., & Bourne, P. (2010). The RCSB Protein Data Bank: redesigned web site and web services Nucleic Acids Research, 39 (Database) DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkq1021

Berman, H., Westbrook, J., Gabanyi, M., Tao, W., Shah, R., Kouranov, A., Schwede, T., Arnold, K., Kiefer, F., Bordoli, L., Kopp, J., Podvinec, M., Adams, P., Carter, L., Minor, W., Nair, R., & Baer, J. (2009). The protein structure initiative structural genomics knowledgebase Nucleic Acids Research, 37 (Database) DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkn790

The Protein Structure Initiative Announces an Updated Free OpenHelix Tutorial and Training Materials for the Structural Biology Knowledgebase (SBKB).

Free tutorial suite on the Structural Biology Knowledgebase includes an online narrated movie, PowerPoint slides, slide handouts and exercises.

Bellevue, WA (PRWEB) April 11, 2011

The Structural Biology Knowledgebase (SBKB), a one-stop shop for information about proteins hosted at Rutgers University, has partnered with OpenHelix to provide an updated and revised free tutorial suite (http://www.openhelix.com/sbkb) on its online protein “portal” located at http://sbkb.org/.

The SBKB is a free, comprehensive resource produced through a collaboration between the National Institutes of Health’s Protein Structure Initiative: Biology program and the Nature Publishing Group. The PSI SBKB contains genetic, structural, functional and experimental information about proteins that is easily accessible through a variety of reports and displays. The portal also includes links to many additional resources.

The new tutorial reflects the many changes and enhancements to the SBKB, including a recent name change from Structural Genomics Knowledgebase to Structural Biology Knowledgebase, new navigation organization, and remodeled Protein Model Portal reports, among many others.
The online narrated tutorial runs in just about any browser and can be navigated in a number of ways. In about 60 minutes, the tutorial highlights and explains the features and functionality needed to start using the SBKB effectively. The tutorial can be used by new users to introduce them to the protein portal, by previous users to view new features and functionality, or simply as a reference tool to understand specific features.

In addition to the tutorial, users can also access useful training and teaching materials including the animated PowerPoint slides used as a basis for the tutorial, suggested script for the slides, slide handouts, and exercises. This can save a tremendous amount time and effort for teachers and professors to create classroom content.

Users can view the tutorials and download the free materials at http://www.openhelix.com/sbkb.

About the PSI
The Protein Structure Initiative (PSI, http://www.nigms.nih.gov/Initiatives/PSI/psi_biology/), which is supported by the National Institutes of Health, is a federal, university and industry effort aimed at dramatically reducing the costs and lessening the time it takes to determine a three-dimensional protein structure. The long-range goal of the PSI is to make the three-dimensional atomic-level structures of most proteins easily obtainable from knowledge of their corresponding DNA sequences. The PSI strives to gain biological insights from new structures and to help the broad biomedical research community make use of PSI research findings.

About OpenHelix
OpenHelix, LLC, (http://www.openhelix.com) provides a bioinformatics and genomics search and training portal, giving researchers one place to find and learn how to use resources and databases on the web. The OpenHelix Search portal searches hundreds of resources, tutorial suites and other material to direct researchers to the most relevant resources and OpenHelix training materials for their needs. Researchers and institutions can save time, budget and staff resources by leveraging a subscription to over 100 online tutorial suites available through the portal. More efficient use of the most relevant resources means quicker and more effective research.

SBKB – New Name, Same Great Resource + More!

The PSI-Nature Structural Genomics Knowledgebase (SGKB) that we’ve posted on before has been rebranded to now be named the PSI-Nature Structural Biology Knowledgebase (SBKB), provided to you by the Protein Structure Initiative (PSI). The new branding just rolled out yesterday, along with the September issue of all the features, and a reorganized left navigation area that organizes pages by scientific focus.

But don’t fear, the FREE SGKB tutorial by OpenHelix that you know and love still accurately demonstrates how to use the search functions of the SBKB, and we are currently working to update our tutorial to reflect the new branding and the new navigation options. Stay tuned for an announcement about the release of the updated SBKB tutorial soon!

Tip of the Week: PSI Structural Genomics Knowledgebase

Last January I did a tip that featured the monthly Structural Genomics Update, which is essentially a newsletter and article collection from PSI Structural Genomics Knowledgebase (SGKB). However, the update is just one aspect of what SGKB offers. In today’s tip I want to feature the wonderfully efficient ways that Structural Genomics Knowledgebase provides you with to learn about the proteins that you are interested in. What I tried to stress in this tip is the different emphasis that Structural Genomics has compared to the RCSB PDB. The RCSB PDB is a GREAT resource, which we also have free tutorial on, but it was created by and for structural biologists. Its displays feature angstroms, angles, conformers and more.

Me, I’m a Molecular Biologist by training & I think about proteins in terms of genomes, pathways, medical relevance, molecular functions, and the like. The SGKB thinks like me, and even organizes information and links into those sorts of categories. I really like how it presents protein information to me, and in the process how it eases me into thinking about the more ‘hard core’ structural details that I see in PDB. The tip is just a teaser taste of the SGKB – if I peak your interest, please do check out OpenHelix’s full, free introductory tutorial on the PSI-SGKB (sponsored by PSI SGKB) as well as the site itself. You never know, you might just learn to love a crystal! :^)

The Protein Structure Initiative announces free OpenHelix tutorial and training materials for the Structural Genomics Knowledgebase (SGKB)

Free tutorial and training materials available for the Structural Genomics Knowledgebase bionformatics resource

Working with OpenHelix to provide online training materials and increased visibility is an effective way to add to our efforts

Bellevue, WA (PRWEB) March 18, 2010 — The Structural Genomics Knowledgebase(SGKB), a one-stop shop for information about proteins hosted at Rutgers University, has partnered with OpenHelixTM to provide free comprehensive training and outreach programs for its online protein “portal” located at http://kb.psi-structuralgenomics.org.

The SGKB is a free, comprehensive resource produced through a collaboration between the National Institutes of Health’s Protein Structure Initiative and Nature Publishing Group. The PSI SGKB contains genetic, structural, functional and experimental information about proteins that is easily accessible through a variety of reports and displays. The portal also includes links to many additional resources.

“Structural genomics is fast emerging as an essential tool in expanding our knowledge of the role of proteins in biology and in disease,” said OpenHelix founder and CSO Dr. Warren Lathe. “OpenHelix is excited to contribute to furthering this field by assisting researchers in effectively and efficiently using this powerful resource.”

The new training initiatives include a free online tutorial suite on how to use/search/find/etc. the SGKB.

The online narrated tutorial runs in just about any browser and can be navigated in a number of ways. In about 60 minutes, the tutorial highlights and explains the features and functionality needed to start using the SGKB effectively. The tutorial can be used by new users to introduce them to the protein portal, by previous users to view new features and functionality or simply as a reference tool to understand specific features.

In addition to the tutorial, SGKB users can also access useful training materials, including the animated PowerPoint slides used as a basis for the tutorial, suggested talking points for the slides, slide handouts and exercises. This can save a tremendous amount time and effort for educators looking to create classroom content.

Users can view the tutorials and download the free materials at http://www.openhelix.com/sgkb .

OpenHelix also has created a free Quick Reference Card for the SGKB. The Quick Reference card highlights search strategies, features and functionality. The cards can be ordered in packs of 30 from www.openhelix.com, and shipping is free within the United States.

“The SGKB sets itself apart by incorporating so many different types of biological data (genetic, structural, theoretical, functional, protocol, etc.) that is really is a ‘one-stop shop’ for a broad range of biological and biomedical fields. The challenge for training and outreach is to make this data accessible and understandable to scientists across different disciplines,” said Dr. Helen Berman, head of the SGKB. “Working with OpenHelix to provide online training materials and increased visibility is an effective way to add to our efforts.”

In addition to the SGKB tutorial suite, OpenHelix offers nearly 90 tutorial suites on some of the most powerful and popular bioinformatics and genomics tools available on the web. Some of the tutorial suites are freely available through support from the resource providers. The whole catalog of tutorial suites is available through a subscription. Users can view the tutorials and download the free materials atwww.openhelix.com.

About the PSI
The Protein Structure Initiative (PSI, http://www.nigms.nih.gov/Initiatives/PSI/), which is supported by the National Institutes of Health, is a federal, university and industry effort aimed at dramatically reducing the costs and lessening the time it takes to determine a three-dimensional protein structure. The long-range goal of the PSI is to make the three-dimensional atomic-level structures of most proteins easily obtainable from knowledge of their corresponding DNA sequences. The PSI strives to gain biological insights from new structures and to help the broad biomedical research community make use of PSI research findings.

About OpenHelix
OpenHelix, LLC, (www.openhelix.com) provides a bioinformatics and genomics search and training portal, giving researchers one place to find and learn how to use resources and databases on the web. The OpenHelix Search portal searches hundreds of resources, tutorial suites and other material to direct researchers to the most relevant resources and OpenHelix training materials for their needs. Researchers and institutions can save time, budget and staff resources by leveraging a subscription to nearly 100 online tutorial suites available through the portal. More efficient use of the most relevant resources means quicker and more effective research.

Ever Wish you Knew the Structure?

PSI_proposal_post2Did you ever wish you knew the structure of your favorite protein, or maybe the protein it interacted with? Would that help you better figure out why a particular mutation is effecting functions so much more than other ‘similar’ mutations? If so you may just be in luck with a new Protein Structure Initiative (PSI) program. You can read all about the opportunity in this recent PSI-SGKB Structural Genomics Update article, but essentially the structural biology community is requesting proposals for collaborations from non-structural biologists. You can even propose your favorite protein to become a target for solution by one of the PSI centers.

If you are not sure what types of proteins might interest them, or whats involved? Take a look at the article I mentioned above (which has great links to additional information), watch this NIH VideoCast of a discussion about the PSI:Biology Network, and check out the Biomedical Themes of the various PSI Centers.

Then submit your proposals! But ya better hurry, the extended deadline is October 28th.