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RIT, Dowling College to Use NIH Funds for Protein Studies

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Rochester Institute of Technology and Dowling College will work together to study the functions of hundreds of proteins using a $417,000 grant provided by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.

The three-year grant will support joint studies at both schools focused on identifying the biological functions of proteins in the Research Collaboratory for Structural Biology Protein Data Bank, which is managed by Rutgers University and the University of California, San Diego.

The RCSB bank holds 75,000 compounds that have already been assigned function. The RIT-Dowling researchers will study the structural coordinates of the remaining 3,000 proteins in the bank.

The scientists and students at RIT's Department of Chemistry and Dowling's Department of Mathematics and Computer Science will compare the proteins from the bank with a library of 400 protein motifs associated with known functions from the Catalytic Site Atlas database, and will focus on amino acids and their relationships that dictate a protein's core function in the human body.

The groups will verify and rate the matches using three-dimensional modeling and will recommend two or three candidate functions for each protein, and they will use existing and new templates created by students at RIT.

"We are concentrating on similarities between the active sites—the places where proteins interact with other molecules," RIT Professor Paul Craig said in a statement. "Using active sites allows for much faster processing than finding structural similarity between the entire backbone of two proteins."

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