ProFITS - Protein Families Involved in the Transduction of Signalling

Maize (Zea mays ssp. mays L.) is an important economic crop, and has served as a model organism for plant genetic research for several decades. In 2009, maize genome sequencing made a great step forward. Now, the availability of genome sequences provides unprecedented opportunities for genome-wide annotation, classification and comparative genomics research. However, the comprehensive maize genome sequence repositories, MaizeSequence ( and maizeGDB ( provide limited information concerning gene families' categorization. The thriving of research discoveries may be hampered under these circumstances.
Signal transduction is a fundamental biological process in living cells for sensing, amplifying and responding to various extracellular or internal stimuli. Many gene products (proteins) are involved in this process. During the signal transduction process, the status of protein-protein interaction, protein three-dimensional architecture, and the localization of proteins could be altered by rapidly changes of protein activities or stabilities. Protein phosphorylation and ubiquitination are two major donators of these changes through post-translation covalent modification. Furthermore, when they are associated with transcription factors that can lead to the multitude transcription cascades, these proteins act as switches allowing the proper and timely response of signal information flow and avoiding overreaction. In the past two decades, identifying the components involved in signal transduction and determining specific signalling pathways have both been functional research hotspots. However, genome-wide classification of gene families involved in signal transduction of maize is still limited.
In aim to facilitate studies on signal transduction systems in maize genome, we developed a database named 'ProFITS' (Protein Families Involved in the Transduction of Signalling), which now categorizes transcription factors (TFs), protein kinases / phosphatases and ubiquitin-proteasome-system (UPS) related genes in maize.
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