Sites of interest on the World Wide Web–edited by Rick Neubig and David Roman

The human genome and the environment

The Environmental Genome Project was conceived by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) in 1998. The overall mission of this project is to gain understanding of human genetic susceptibility to environmental exposures. The NIEHS Web site ( contains subsections with information on polymorphisms and genes, research activities, as well as a resources page. The polymorphisms and genes page has sections on environmentally responsive genes (554 have been found so far), as well as useful links to SNP databases. The National Center for Toxicogenomics is a part of the NIEHS, and its Web site ( provides basic information, such as a glossary and news about meetings and workshops, as well as sources for extramural funding and an interesting page dedicated to addressing the ethical, legal, and social implications of advances made in the field of genetics. These two Web sites are concise and serve as a clearinghouse for links and information about toxicogenomics.

Cell line receptor information

Have you ever wondered whether that new signal transduction research that you’ve read about (or embarked on!) has made use of appropriate cell lines? One resource can provide instant access to a database of endogenous G protein–coupled receptors (GPCRs) found in various cell lines. Dr. Agnes Schonbrunn at the University of Texas Health Science Center and Dr. David Steffen at Baylor College of Medicine, along with several dozen contributors, have assembled a database of cell types and the GPCRs they endogenously express ( Currently, the Endogenous GPCR List encompasses over thirty cell types commonly used by researchers, including C6, CHO-K1, COS, HeLa, and HEK-293. Each of these cell types is accompanied by a list of known expressed GPCRs, and most entries provide clickable links to a source publication via PubMed.

Membrane-spanning protein diagrams made easy

How many times have you looked to find an easy way to create those “snake-like” diagrams of transmembrane domain–containing proteins? Formerly the realm of tedious circle drawing, two resources are now available to end the frustration and make the process more efficient. The Residue-Based Diagram Editor from the Weill Medical College of Cornell University Institute for Computational Biomedicine ( is a handy Web-based application that allows sequence data to be imported as text, or inserted via Swiss-Prot accession number. The editor allows simple editing of transmembrane regions, and graphics can be exported in a number of different formats. This program can incorporate any transmembrane helix data from its Swiss-Prot entry, allowing for a quick visualization of the protein arrangement in just a few mouse clicks. If you have access to Silicon Graphics workstation, you may additionally want to get a copy of the Viseur program, also available from Cornell ( This program provides a powerful tool for the generation of snake-like receptor diagrams and the export of graphics in popular formats.

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