The goal of the TMPC is to apply technologies developed under the aegis of the Protein Structure Initiative (PSI) to investigate the structure and function of membrane proteins of high biological/biomedical relevance. Collaborations between the TMPC and individual investigators that are interested in performing functional follow-up studies in their own laboratories provide an excellent framework to combine expertise.
To become a collaborator with the TMPC, an investigator must first nominate a membrane protein or proteins in an email addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org, with TMPC Nomination in the subject line. This nomination must include the name of the gene of interest, the exact DNA sequence of the gene to be analyzed, a brief rationale for why this protein is of particular biological/biomedical interest, and a description of how data from the TMPC would motivate/enable follow-up studies. If possible, a UniProt Accession number should be provided. Nominations will be reviewed by TMPC staff for feasibility and for any conflicts-of-interest (internally or between existing collaborators). Acceptance of a nomination marks the beginning of a collaboration. It is expected that collaborations will result in publications with joint authorship between the TMPC and nominating investigators.
Once a collaboration has been established, the initial step will include cloning the nominated gene(s) into vectors suitable for small-scale expression studies using cell-free translation. All proteins produced by these systems will be analyzed for expression level, molecular mass, solubility properties, aggregation/dispersity, and protein samples will be sent to collaborators for functional characterization in their own laboratories. Protein samples that pass initial quality control, functional verification and scale-up checkpoints will then be passed on for structure determination attempts by X-ray crystallography and/or NMR. Collaborators will be updated on the progress of their proteins as they advance through our experimental pipeline, and will be able to view progress on proteins being studied in the center at Structural Biology Target Registration Database: Target Track.