Contact: Joseph Blumberg
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
SARS information for antiviral drug design released by Protein Data Bank
NEW BRUNSWICK/PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- The Protein Data Bank (PDB), an
international resource for biomedical research with facilities at
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, has released to the public
a three-dimensional crystal structure of the SARS virus main protease
enzyme. Its availability to medical researchers worldwide is crucial
because this enzyme is considered the primary target for new antiviral
drugs being developed to combat the virus.
"The PDB was able to process and release this information so quickly
because of the leading-edge technology it employs," said Rutgers Board
of Governors Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology Helen M.
Berman, director of the Protein Data Bank. "It is critically important
that these kinds of data are made available quickly to expedite the drug
discovery process, especially when we are dealing with a potentially
epidemic disease like SARS. The rapid processing possible by the PDB
is going to become increasingly important as we release structures
with such medically important potential."
The actual structure determination was made by Structural GenomiX, Inc.,
a biotechnology company in San Diego. The company deposited its data
with the PDB, which were processed rapidly by a team at Rutgers to make
the data available in the public database.
"Having the three-dimensional structure of the SARS virus protease
shouldaccelerate the search for effective treatments for SARS," said
Eddy Arnold, professor, Rutgers' department of chemistry and chemical
biology. "Structure-based drug design has had an important impact on the
development of anti-AIDS drugs that are now in use, and the rapid
progress with characterizing the SARS coronavirus will enable more
efficient paths to developing drugs for treating SARS. The PDB renders
an important service to the research community in providing rapid access
to this crucial information."
The Protein Data Bank is an Internet-accessible international resource
for three-dimensional information on biological macromolecules. As a
tool to help unlock the secrets of biological systems in medical and
pharmaceutical research, the PDB is a critical asset to 21st century
genomic research and drug design. Research Collaboratory for Structural
Bioinformatics (RCSB) members Rutgers, the San Diego Supercomputer
Center at UCSD, and the Center for Advanced Research in Biotechnology of
the National Institute of Standards and Technology manage the PDB.