illuminating the druggable genome at UCSF- developing scalable technologies to uncover genomic dark matter

Genomic Dark Matter

The goal of the Illuminating the Druggable Genome (IDG) Program is to improve our understanding of the properties and functions of proteins that are currently unannotated within the four most commonly drug-targeted protein families: the G-protein coupled receptors, ion channels, and protein kinases. Currently, this program contains Data Resource Generating Centers (DRGC), a Resource Dissemination and Outreach Center (RDOC), and a Knowledge Management Center (KMC). Together this structure helps to illuminate fundamental information and provide tangible reagents to catalyze new discovery on the therapeutically relevant darkest parts of our genome.


UCSF is one of three hubs of the IDG. Our objective is to apply transformative scalable technology platforms and streamlined experimental workflows incorporated with multiple robust assay and physiological perturbation protocols for large-scale functional studies of poorly characterized and/or un-annotated proteins encoded by the Druggable Genome. At UCSF, two teams have assembled to help annotate dark protein families: the McManus Lab with the Jan Lab to focus on dark Ion Channels, and the Shoichet Lab with the Roth Lab (UNC) to focus on dark GPCRs. These teams are working together, collaborating with with others in the IDG to uncover functions for human genomic dark matter.

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Unlocking the Genome

IDG began with a pilot phase that established a consortium of major projects for the Adaptation of Scalable Technologies to Illuminate the Druggable Genome (TechDev). The KMC was designed to develop an integrated informatics solution encompassing data accrual, data-driven prioritizations, storage, cataloging, analysis, and dissemination of standardized/annotated information related to the unannotated proteins in the four gene families of interest. We are now in the second phase of the IDG, with three funded Centers focused on three protein families (Ion Channels, GPCRs, and Kinases).