Wisdom-of-the-masses Web sites like the user-written encyclopedia, Wikipedia, are all the rage. Johns Hopkins biochemists are now getting in on the action with Human Proteinpedia, an effort to compile the largest source of information on human proteins in the world.
They hope the site, which will be open to everyone at no cost, will speed research into a variety of human medical conditions. Proteins are key molecular players in many human diseases and many drugs act to change how they are produced or function.Dr. Akhilesh Pandey, an associate professor at the McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine at Hopkins, coordinated the initiative with scientists and computer experts at the Institute of Bioinformatics in Bangalore, India, which he founded. In a paper published today in the journal Nature Biotechnology, Pandey explained how researchers could access and use the data on the site.
The database contains information about what proteins are found in certain body tissues when a person has a disease, and how those proteins function. The site currently contains entries for more than 15,000 human proteins using data provided by 71 laboratories from around the world.
Pandey describes collecting data on all human proteins as a "Herculean task," that requires input from the entire scientific community.
The online address for Proteinpedia is www.humanproteinpedia.org