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History of DNASU

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DNASU Plasmid Repository

Collections of plasmids, including empty vectors and those with gene inserts, are a valuable resource to the research community, saving researchers time and money and thus expediting a variety of biological and biomedical experimental applications. In 2000, Dr. Joshua LaBaer's laboratory at the Harvard Medical School Institute of Proteomics initiated a major effort to create a sequence-verified collection of full-length cDNAs representing all coding regions for the human in a vector system that is protein expression-ready to be used in high throughput (HT) applications. All of these collections exploit recombinational cloning technology. This strategy allows DNA fragments flanked by site-specific recombination sites to be moved from one vector to another in a single step procedure, in frame, and without mutation. These reactions are simple enough to allow HT automation and are virtually 100% efficient. Because of the ability to transfer clones from one vector to another, once the “master clone” is created, the identical sequences can be transferred easily into all bacterial, mammalian, and viral vectors commonly used for protein expression in the broadest possible variety of functional assays. Using this method, the laboratory has created ten of thousands of plasmids and collections of plasmids, including whole genome collections for several organisms, that can be used in a variety of experimental applications.

In order to provide these collections to researchers, we developed the web-based distribution website DNASU. Over the past 13 years, the repository has expanded and currently houses and distributes a collection of over 200,000 plasmids with inserts from over 600 organisms in over 100 vector backbones created both within the LaBaer laboratory and from external depositing consortia and laboratories.

In 2006, the repository was selected to become the Protein Structure Initiative-Materials Repository (PSI-MR now the PSI:Biology-Materials Repository) with the mission of providing centralized storage, maintenance and distribution of plasmid clones produced by PSI researchers. PSI is a NIGMS program directed at high throughput structural biology and is composed of structural genomics centers that have produced over 100,000 plasmids to be deposited and distributed by the PSI-MR. Our goal is to collect these plasmids, fully sequence validate them and distribute them worldwide. As of February 2014, over 82,000 PSI plasmids and their associated data available to request through DNASU. The goals of the next phase of the PSI, PSI:Biology, are to continue solving protein structures and to apply high-throughput structural biology to important biological problems, which includes encouraging partnerships between structural biologists and investigators from the biological, biochemical, and/or molecular communities. The PSI:Biology-MR, will continue its mission of making these plasmids available to researchers.

June 2009, Dr. LaBaer moved to the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University where he is currently the Director of the Virginia G. Piper Center for Personalized Diagnostics. The repository also moved at this time and began distribution from ASU in October of 2009. We continue to accept plasmids from PSI and other researchers to be distributed through DNASU.