MU database to aid in creation of drugs

Monday, September 20, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 3:23 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 8, 2008

MU researchers developed a database search engine that will aid in the development of protein-based drugs that combat diseases such as cancer and AIDS.

The system, named ProteinDBS, which was featured Sept. 3 in the journal Science, consists of more than 50,000 3-D chains of protein structures.

These structures allow researchers to understand how mutations or variations in genes that encode proteins lead to changes in the protein behavior, resulting in disease or differing reactions to certain drugs, according to a release from the MU News Bureau.

ProteinDBS is “the world’s first and only real-time 3-D protein structure retrieval system,” Chi-Ren Shyu, project coordinator and assistant professor of computer science engineering, said in the release.

The system produces in seconds the 50 proteins that most resemble the search subject and then allows for visual and statistical comparison. This would entice more scientists to take part in protein structure analysis in research, Shyu said in the release.

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