Press Release

Major Milestone Achieved Against Infectious Diseases

SSGCID Collaboration results in 1,000 protein structures

June 7, 2017 (Seattle, Wash.) — Investigators at the Seattle Structural Genomics Center for Infectious Disease (SSGCID) reached a significant milestone: solving 1,000 protein structures from over 70 infectious disease organisms. Describing the three-dimensional shape of proteins at atomic-level detail helps scientists develop highly detailed blueprints of the basic biology of these pathogens, leading to new interventions and therapies for the deadly diseases they cause.

SSGCID is led by Dr. Peter Myler, Professor and Director of Core Services at the Center for Infectious Disease (CID) Research. “When the SSGCID solves protein structures, it lays the foundation for researchers at CID Research and around the world to find new drugs, therapies and vaccine candidates for diseases that kill thousands each year,” said Myler. “I’m very proud of the hard work carried out by our team and our dedicated partners.”

In addition to leadership and management of SSGCID, CID Research provides bioinformatics and outreach support and performs some of the protein purifications. Other partners include the University of Washington, which handles gene cloning and protein expression and solves some protein structures using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR); Beryllium Discovery Corp (Bainbridge Island, WA), which makes crystals of the purified proteins and solves most structures by X-ray crystallography; and Battelle/Pacific Northwest National Laboratories (Richland, WA), which also solves some structures using NMR.

Proteins targeted for structure determination by SSGCID are selected for their biomedical relevance in human pathogens such as Ebola and Zika, as well as those responsible for tuberculosis, leprosy, malaria, and influenza. More than 40% of the targets are direct requests from the infectious disease research community. A recent focus of SSGCID has been to solve protein structures from antibiotic resistant bacteria to help facilitate development of urgently needed new drugs to combat this very real threat.

SSGCID is one of the most productive structural genomics centers in the world. In a pioneering drive towards efficiency and collaboration, the Center has consistently solved more structures than its annual goal, compelled by the scientific community’s need to fill in the puzzle pieces of infectious disease research.

All SSGCID structures are shared with the scientific community through a public database called the Protein Data Bank (PDB) and by publication of more than 100 scientific papers. This information is extensively used by other scientists; having been cited in over 500 papers from other laboratories in academia, research institutes, and pharmaceutical companies around the world. All materials generated from the project, including structures, clones and proteins, are made available to the scientific community through the PDB and the SSGCID website, and the Center also freely distributes the expression clones and protein via the website.

SSGCID is funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), under Contract Number HHSN272201200025C.


About the Center for Infectious Disease Research

CID Research is the largest independent, non-profit organization in the U.S. focused solely on infectious disease research. Their research is the foundation for new drugs, vaccines and diagnostics that benefit those who need help most: the 14 million people who will otherwise die each year from infectious diseases, including malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. Founded in 1976, the Center partners with key collaborators around the globe and focuses on discoveries that will save lives.