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AxCell Scientists Map Interactions in First Human Protein Family

NEW YORK, Jan 9 – Reaching their first milestone in an effort to map out all the protein pathways in the human body, scientists at Cytogen subsidiary AxCell Biosciences have charted all 69,000 interactions between an entire family of proteins, the company announced Tuesday.

There are 60 to 80 domain families of proteins present in the human body, according to AxCell. Domains are the structural sites where proteins interact.

This map, which charts interactions of the WW domain family, is the first complete family map   to be completed. Irregularities in this family have been linked to hypertension, immunodeficiency, muscular dystrophy, and other problems . The company hopes to market this information to medical researchers interested in proteomics and genomics drug discovery.

The AxCell scientists used genomic data from the Human Genome project and robotic screening techniques to identify the interactions within this family.

" This milestone in the effort to map the interaction of human proteins is extremely important for two reasons,” John Rodwell, acting president and chief technical officer of AxCell Biosciences, said in a statement. “First, it will provide important data for research right away. Second, it reinforces our strong belief that AxCell Biosciences will be able to complete the entire human protein interaction model using our robotic screening technique."

Axcell is now turning its attention toward mapping the PDZ and SH3 protein domains, for which aberrations have been linked to cancer, cardiovascular disease, inflammatory disease, and stroke.

" AxCell has provided an interesting dataset for understanding protein signaling pathways," said Leroy Hood, founder of the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle, Wash., in a statement. " This achievement, a systems analysis of the WW domain family, provides important new information on protein signaling pathways which could have implications for their role in a broad range of diseases."

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