SFARI director’s award for SYNGO

11 April 2022

Guus Smit and Matthijs Verhage obtained funding to coordinate expert annotation of the synaptic protein interactome, with the goal to curate protein-protein interactions implicated in autism.

The Simons Foundation announced it will fund the SYNGO2 project “Annotation of the synaptic interactome and synaptic pathways relevant for ASD”. Recent large-scale exome sequencing has identified >100 autism risk genes and the SFARI database contains 1,231 genes implicated in autism, among which 418 high-confidence autism risk genes. To translate these findings into testable hypotheses on disease mechanisms and prioritize new treatment targets, the SYNGO consortium proposed to elucidate how these many genes work together in specific gene networks and pathways involved in disease risk. SYNGO proposed to make the first important step by curating existing information about protein-protein interaction data for proteins encoded by autism risk genes and define new, validated interactome maps and online tools for the research community.

The SynGO consortium, coordinated by CNCR (Frank Koopmans, Loek van der Kallen, Guus Smit & Matthijs Verhage), brings together leading experts in synapse biology worldwide to establish a large expert-curated data resource of the synapse. The Stanley Center at the Broad Institute in Cambridge, MA, USA has been the main sponsor since the start. The GO-consortium is our annotation partner. The SYNGO portal (syngoportal.org) provides consistent, evidence-based annotation of synaptic gene products as a universal reference for synapse research and to facilitate enrichment studies in large scale -omics data (GWAS, expression profiling, proteomics).

The SYNGO consortium recently had their kick off meeting for a new SYNGO2 phase to annotate/curate protein-protein interactions in the synapse on Febr 2nd 2022 and is expected to run for 3 years.