Intrinsically Disordered Proteins (IDP) are proteins containing regions that lack a stable secondary or tertiary structure. These regions are called 'Intrinsically Disordered Regions' (IDRs) and play a central role in cell regulation. They are also thought to be involved many human diseases, including cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
IDPs are estimated to contain up to one hundred thousand interaction interfaces and a million sites of post-translational modification. However, to date, only a small fraction of IDPs have been characterised.
The major goal of the IDP Community is to support the development of standards, tools and resources to accelerate the identification, analysis and functional characterisation of IDPs. Given their therapeutic relevance, IDR-mediated interactions are now seen as potential drug targets. A better understanding of their structure and function will help in developing new strategies to treat human diseases.
Goals of the Community
The ELIXIR Intrinsically Disordered Proteins Community was created in 2019. Its goals are:
To simplify IDP data access and dissemination
- The IDP field has not yet established official standards to allow consistent storage and dissemination of data.
- A key responsibility of the IDP Community is to define exchange formats, guidelines and standards to improve the reproducibility, interpretation, and dissemination of experimental IDP data.
- This goal has received ELIXIR support through the implementation study: “Integration and standardisation of intrinsically disordered protein data”.
To drive the curation of IDP literature
- The vast majority of experimental data describing IDPs, the functional modules encoding their function, the regulatory mechanisms conditionally controlling that function, and their dysregulation in disease, is isolated in the text of research and review articles and in poorly formatted supplementary tables.
- This hampers the integration of IDP information with data such as protein function, modification, splice variants and disease-causing single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Consequently, data created at great expense is significantly underutilised.
- The IDP community will support community-driven and automated curation of IDP literature.
To develop a centralised knowledgebase for IDP data
- The computational IDP community in Europe develops many of the tools and resources that underlie the global IDP e-infrastructure. However, these assets are currently spread over numerous institutes and universities across Europe.
- The IDP community will oversee the development of an umbrella resource, IDPcentral, consolidating the European IDP community resources and tools through a single standards-compliant portal to improve the accessibility of these resources for the wider biological community.
To integrate IDP data into ELIXIR Core Data Resources
- IDP annotations are significantly underrepresented in the ELIXIR Core Data Resources.
- The IDP ELIXIR community will facilitate the integration of IDP data and services into these resources both directly and through the DisProtCentral resource.
To improve tools for IDP analysis
- The IDP community would benefit from improved standardisation, benchmarking and indexing of computational tools.
- Key tasks include the development of guidelines and resources for scientific (I/O) file formats, data analysis pipelines and benchmarking of scientific tools.
- These developments will raise the quality of software developed by the community to produce more accurate, faster, more stable and user-friendly software implementation.
The IDP Community will be involved in a number of short-term, technical project called ELIXIR Commissioned Services:
- Integration and standardization of intrinsically disordered protein data (2018)
- Standardizing Intrinsically Disordered Proteins (IDPs) data (2021)
- Improving IDP tools interoperability and integration into ELIXIR (2021)
- Community White Paper
Work is also presented in a series of webinars:
Find out more
- Contact katharina.heil [at] elixir-europe.org if you'd like to know more about the community's work.
- Necci, M., Piovesan, D., CAID Predictors. et al. Critical assessment of protein intrinsic disorder prediction. Nat Methods 18, 472–481 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41592-021-01117-3. See also the entry on IDPcentral.
- Slides about the first IDP Implementation Study presented at the ELIXIR All Hands meeting 2019