Meeting report

Structural Genomics, Berlin, Germany

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The Int’l Conference on Structural Genomics in October, 2002, brought together leaders on the cutting edge of high throughput cloning, isolation, purification and crystallization of protein and NMR, x-ray crystallography, and bioinformatics investigations of the structure and function of gene products in a remarkably productive format. Lectures by Nobel Laureates crystallographer Robert Huber (1990) and NMR Spectroscopist Kurt Wurthrich (2002) set the bar very high but dozens of the speakers met the challenge. Of particular interest were presentations by A. Savchenko on techniques to solubilize many proteins that are expressed in insoluble forms, by C. Lang on protein expression as a function of variation in yeast expression systems, a new significantly different conformation for a tRNA in complex with its cognate tRNA synthetase (S. Yokoyoma), further development of powerful alogrithms for protein sequence alignment conducive to reliable prediction of fold and function (L. Holm), corroborative evidence of gene prediction in C. elegans provided by high throughput protein expression (M. Vidal), and significant progress in defining catalytic substrate sites by covariance analysis of families of proteins (O. Lichtarge and J. Thornton). W. Hol ended his progress report on structural genomics of tropical diseases with an appeal for major funding of a facility for high throughput production of macro quantities of candidates to expedite the drug delivery process. Other talks addressed detection of protein interactions and S. Wiemann presented moving pictures of labeled protein shuttling between the plasma membrane and the Golgi. The Governing Board of the association for the next four years will be composed of U. Heinemann (Germany), T. Terwilliger (USA), and S. Yokoyama (Japan) and newly elected S. Kuramitsu (Japan), D. Stewart (UK) and I. Wilson (USA). G. Montelione has accepted responsibility for planning and organizing the third meeting in the series in late fall 2004 or early spring 2005. Further information is available at

William L. Duax