Special Issue "Structural and Functional Biology of Hypothetical Proteins in Marine Life"
A special issue of Marine Drugs (ISSN 1660-3397).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2010)
Prof. Dr. Joseph David Ng
Department of Biological Science and Laboratory for Structural Biology, University of Alabama in Huntsville, AL, 301 Sparkman Dr., Huntsville, AL 35899, USA
Fax: +1 256 824 3204
Interests: structural and functional biology related to marine proteins; X-ray and neutron crystallography; biomolecular engineering
Hypothetical proteins (HPs) are predicted gene products that have no identifiable function assigned to them. They comprise 10-60% of recognized open reading frames (ORFs) in annotated genomes, including ~50% of human ORFs. These unknown gene products may be unique to the organism or orthologous to proteins in other organisms. Many genes identified in sequenced genomes of both marine and terrain organisms have a significant portion of their predicted gene products to be "Hypothetical" and may serve as conserved factors critical for cellular survival among all life forms. These types of proteins play critical roles both inside and outside of the cell in catalysis, regulation, transport, storage, scaffolding, pathogenesis, signaling defense, growth and development. In this respect HPs are completely unexplored targets for potential therapeutic drugs. This special issue of Marine Drugs will focus on the specific question of "What is the functional significance of the thousands of genes that encode for hypothetical proteins unique or common among genomes representing marine microorganism, plants and animals?" Great efforts will be directed towards extremophiles or symbiotic microorganisms. The collection of reviews and studies in this issue will encompass work related to (1) discovering novel or conserved HPs in the targeted genomes using bioinformatics; (2) identifying the cellular location and developmental time of HP mRNA expression using techniques such as PCR-based analyses, proteomics mass spectrometry, polysome-bound mRNA profiling and high throughput microarray analysis; and (3) conducting structural studies using the tools of NMR spectroscopy and X-ray crystallography. This issue aims to provide a broader understanding of inter-species interactions, providing a comprehensive overview of signal transduction proteins, transcription factors, classically and non–classically secreted proteins involved in various pathogenic, non-pathogenic, symbiotic and saprophytic life styles of marine life and their relationship to those found on land.
Prof. Dr. Joseph D. Ng
- hypothetical proteins
- functional genomics
- X-ray crystallography
- NMR spectroscopy
- symbiotic microorganisms
- extremophilic gene, structure and function
- extremophilic drug discovery and design