Hypothetical Proteins: Can they be the next drug targets?


Hypothetical proteins, also known as orphan proteins, can be found across all genomes of all taxa of life. Despite their considerable number in any given genome, their functional presence and significance are rarely investigated due to their sequence and structural dissimilarity to well-characterized proteins. This further poses challenges on the right approach to be adopted and streamlined when studying these proteins. Using an array of genomics, bioinformatics, computational biology, protein biochemistry and biophysical approaches, efforts were streamlined in mining for hypothetical proteins which are deemed functionally significant, specifically of medical relevance, to be used as potential drug targets in the future. This presentation will briefly discuss several hypothetical proteins from Klebsiella pneumoniae MGH78578 and locally isolated Bacillus lehensis G1 alkaliphile as case studies.

Speaker’s Profile:

Normi Mohd Yahaya has completed her PhD at the age of 25 years from RIKEN Institute and Universiti Sains Malaysia in Molecular Genetics specializing on protein engineering under the RIKEN-Asia Joint Graduate School Program. She later pursued her postdoctoral training in the area of structural biology, specifically in protein nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) in Institut National Polytechnique de Lorraine, Nancy, France under Center National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS). She has won several awards of merit including PACIFICHEM 2010, Young Scholar Award and being one of the Selected Young Scientists for the 60th Meeting of Nobel Prize Winners with Young Scientists in Lindau, Germany. In 2015, she was awarded the L’Oreal-UNESCO for Women in Science Award.