by Vivienne Baillie Gerritsen

You cannot beat versatility. Whichever way you look at it, versatility strengthens, opens doors, widens horizons. Many notorious people have been endowed with multiple talents. Author of the hugely popular book on human behaviour "The Naked Ape", Desmond Morris has not only spent a life as a zoologist and a writer but also as a surrealist painter. Dora Maar, in her days, was a well-known photographer as she was a poet and a painter. Le Corbusier, too, gained recognition for his architecture as he did for his furniture design and sculptures. Leonardo da Vinci also comes to mind - as many others do too. Of course, you do not need to be famous to be multi-talented. You do not need to be human, either. You can even be a protein. While many proteins, through the course of their existence, are quite content to have one role, others may be endowed with more. One such protein is transglutaminase 2, whose achievements are so varied that it even ends up being involved in opposing events, such as cell growth and cell death.

Protein Spotlight (ISSN 1424-4721) is a monthly review written by the Swiss-Prot team of the SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics. Spotlight articles describe a specific protein or family of proteins on an informal tone. Follow us: Subscribe · Twitter · Facebook

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Tales From A Small World

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Tales From A Small World is a collection of the first hundred articles which originally appeared on this site. Published in September 2009, the book is enriched by poems from the Dublin poet, Pat Ingoldsby. Learn more and order your copy online.

Journey Into A Tiny World

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« Globin and Poietin set out to save Lily's life. But time is running short and they can't find the marrow... Here is the tale of their courage, fun and laughter on a journey that takes them deep into the tiniest of worlds.» For children. Learn more and order your copy online.

Snapshot : GFP

One of Nature's wonders is to produce light. Fireflies flutter and flicker in the night while other creatures are flashing light in the depths of the ocean. Brief and relatively intense flashes are used by some to ward off predators, catch prey or even seduce a future partner. This fascinating phenomenon is the achievement of a number of proteins amongst which GFP, otherwise known as Green Fluorescent Protein.

A little bit of praise!

“I recently stumbled upon your columns. Let me congratulate you on achieving the near impossible, for your articles have enabled me to successfully marry IT with the Life Sciences and better explain the concepts of bioinformatics to those who are not in the know of the field.

Your articles are very well written, lucid, and contain just enough information to excite the reader to want to learn more about the topic being discussed. They fall in a very rare category where they are accessible to everyone, from the undergraduate students to research students who want to have a basic idea of the topics being discussed. Some of your articles, like "Our hollow architecture" and "Throb" are outstanding pieces.

I would highly recommend your articles as a necessary reading in undergrad classes to get students inspired about the various avenues of research.”

— Rohan Chaubal, Senior Researcher in Genomics

Thank you to Margaret Mannion Kallen whose work we reproduce on our site!