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This issue of Protein and Peptide Letters (PPL) features two papers from the team of Alfredo Tomasselli and Bob Heinrikson and their colleagues [119-143]. Both of these contributions are slightly longer than typical PPL papers and both deal with the same enzyme, BACE, or β-secretase, a target for drug discovery for treatment of Alzheimer's Disease. What is the justification for taking up this much room in an issue of PPL?

In the current era of rapidly paced discovery and publication, it is all too often the case that papers contain only the sketchiest of details of the experiments described. Many graduate students and their faculty mentors are frustrated at attempting to reproduce the experiments described in a paper, only to discover that essential elements of the experimental design have been left out, either due to deliberate obfuscation or to editorial demands for compression. This can lead to needless delays and considerable confusion for both student and professor.

The two manuscripts presented here take the opposite tack and present the entire story of the expression, purification, characterization, and crystallization of BACE. One manuscript presents the expression in CHO cells, rapid purification using affinity methods, and strategies to reduce heterogeneity of the protein products to permit crystallization. The second manuscript presents expression in E. coli, followed by refolding and purification to yield crystallizable material. In each case, experimental protocols are described fully and analytical methods applied carefully to provide a complete picture of the status of the derived proteins.

I firmly believe that these two contributions represent good examples for all laboratories in how to conduct and describe biochemical experiments. While I do not wish to encourage excessively long submissions to PPL, I believe that these papers can and should be used as examples for students in the research lab. I will make these available to all my students and ask that they follow the lead of these authors in writing reports on their work. I hope that others will find these useful as well.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-02-01

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  • Protein & Peptide Letters publishes short papers in all important aspects of protein and peptide research, including structural studies, recombinant expression, function, synthesis, enzymology, immunology, molecular modeling, drug design etc. Manuscripts must have a significant element of novelty, timeliness and urgency that merit rapid publication. Reports of crystallisation, and preliminary structure determinations of biologically important proteins are acceptable. Purely theoretical papers are also acceptable provided they provide new insight into the principles of protein/peptide structure and function.
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