Helix Full Length cDNA Project for High Throughput Functional Analysis

In 1996 the Helix Research Institute, Inc. was established to develop effective technologies for identifying biologically important genes and evaluating their function. This six-year joint research project is cofunded by the Japanese government and industry, with a planned budget of 6.6 billion yen. About 70% of the money comes from the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) through the Japan Key Technology Center, and 30% from 10 private companies.

The institute consists of genomics, bioinformatics, and biological technology laboratories. Projects include high speed sequencing of full-length cDNAs, detection of evolutionary and functional relationships using bioinformatics, and use of novel experimental technologies (such as DNA chips) to elucidate the functions of genes considered to be of particular interest.

A recent major target of the worldwide genome project has been human gene cloning using full length cDNAs and their functional analysis as related to human health and disease. Our Genomics Department combines established methods for high-throughput cloning of complete full length cDNAs and identifying gene functions. Bioinformatics support includes performance of sequence analyses and functional predictions of new genes. The Biological Technology Department supports genomics efforts by developing experimental methods for evaluating gene function and gene functional analysis of biological mechanisms through gene expression profiles and other strategies. A unique set of full-length cDNA clones would be a powerful tool for exploring the functional analysis of genes. In collaboration with S. Sugano (University of Tokyo) we have developed an efficient method for cloning full-length cDNAs by the oligo-cap method (Maruyama, K. and S. Sugano, Gene 138:171-174, 1994). Using this approach, full-length-enriched cDNA libraries are constructed from cultured cells and tissues. A mammalian expression vector is used for direct applications to functional analyses in biological assays. We are now analyzing the 5' and 3'ends of the cDNA clones and performing full cDNA sequencing as shown in the figure.

Helix Full-Length cDNA Project for High-Throughput Functional Analysis
Takao Isogai
Helix Research Institute, Inc.
1532-3 Yana, Kisarazu, Chiba 292, Japan
Tel +81-438-52-3951; FAX: -3952