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May 15, 2005 (Vol. 25, No. 10)

LPFC: A Library of Protein Family Cores

  • Interesting Idea
  • Spartan Interface
As described at the site, scientists have been classifying proteins into families of structures almost as long as they have been determining structures. LPFC (Library of Protein Family Cores) is yet another attempt to identify protein structures that can be used to sort proteins into groups and identify unknown members belonging to the same groups. The method for accomplishing this here is the definition of Average Protein Cores. These structures are created by identifying sets of atoms in protein sequence in the same relative regions of space. Once identified as such, the structures are categorized statistically to define the average orientations in domains and thus develop new ways to categorize structural similarity that is relatively unbiased. Whew, that is a mouthful, but I imagine it is actually easier to describe than to determine. The important thing for visitors to the site is that they can easily search the database using information from the PDB database. Another clever and ambitious idea.
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*The opinions expressed are solely those of the author(s) and should not be construed as reflecting the viewpoints of the publisher, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., the publishing house, or employees and affiliates thereof.

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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

Do you agree that ecstasy should be studied for its potential therapeutic benefits?

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