Simply Put—A Conversation with Jeffrey Skolnick:Biology in 3D

(, July 23, 2015) Sometimes, scientific jargon obscures the significance of insights and the elegance of the ideas. Simply Put is the section of our blog where we ask the authors of a recent article to tell us more about their work with the challenge that they do so while avoiding structural biology or other science jargon—thus preserving the significance and elegance. Our pick this month is a Theory paper that where the authors performed a large-scale structural analysis of more than 1,700 proteins. These proteins have been previously documented to carry more than 6,000 disease-associated mutations and more than 4,000 mutations not known to lead to a disease, and all these were examined. Overall, the comprehensive nature of the work provides a framework for understanding the connection between a disease-associated mutation and the effect it has on the structural feature of the protein. The overarching goal is to link these insights obtained at molecular level to physiology and the resulting disease manifestation and symptoms. We asked author Jeffrey Skolnick from Center for the Study of Systems Biology at Georgia Tech to explain how this massive analysis was done and what his group learned along the way.