Mapping of a principal neutralizing epitope (shown in white) on the surface of Zika virus / Chris Nelson from Zhao et al., 2016, Cell 166, 1016-1027

The 3D atomic structure of more than 1,000 proteins has been determined in a new study led by Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. These proteins are potential drug and vaccine targets, to combat some of the world’s most dangerous emerging, and re-emerging infectious diseases.

The 3D structures that were determined by a team of national scientists help expedite drug and vaccine research and advance the understanding of pathogens and organisms causing infectious disease.

These experimentally determined structures have been deposited into the World-Wide Protein Data Bank, an archive supported by the NIH, freely available to the scientific community.

 “Almost 50 percent of the structures that we have deposited in the Protein Data Bank are proteins that were requested by scientific investigators from around the world”, said Feinberg’s Wayne Anderson, PhD, director of the project.

The NIH has also requested the team to work on proteins for potential drug targets or vaccine candidates, such as the Zika virus, the Ebola virurs, and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

“We have determined several key structures from these priority organisms and published the results in high-impact journals such as Nature and Cell”, says Anderson.

Anyone in the scientific community interested in requesting the determination of structures of proteins from pathogens in the NIAID Category A-C priority lists or organisms causing emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, can submit requests to the Center’s web portal. As part of the services offered to the scientific community, the CSGID can also provide expression clones and purified proteins, free of charge.

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