SYNGO2 starts with new 2 year support from The Broad Institute

20 March 2022

The SYNGO consortium, coordinated by CNCR, enters a new phase to annotate/curate protein-protein interactions in the synapse with two more years of funding for the Amsterdam office.

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 knowledgebase of the synapse, in collaboration with the GO-consortium. In previous years, the consortium has built a new ontology for the synapse and annotated over 1200 synaptic proteins based exclusively on published experimental evidence. Since launching the SYNGO portal and publication of the first analyses by the consortium in Neuron in 2019, the knowledgebase and portal has served many scientists worldwide, with many daily users of the portal and the Neuron paper being in the top 5% of most cited papers in the field (March 1st 2022: 195 citations in <2 years; Google Scholar).

Together with the international research community, the consortium defined several new goals. Widely recognized as the most urgent goal is the improvement of the poor current annotation of protein-protein interactions in the synapse. Large scale protein-protein interaction data are widely used, especially in -omics studies (GWAS, gene expression profiling, proteomics), to help interpret complex genetics signals, e.g. association of many common single nucleotide polymorphisms with human brain disease. Current data resources typically contain unsupervised annotations of protein-protein interactions based on automated text mining and/or high throughput assays. As a consequence, these resources contain many false positives. In recent SYNGO pilots it was concluded that the false positive rate may be more than 50%. Several clear cases of incorrect interpretation of data due to this poor quality annotation have been identified, also published in the most prestigious journals. SYNGO now aims to improve this situation by curation of existing protein-protein interaction data by SYNGO’s field experts and several new partners with specific technology expertise to evaluate specific published interaction data.

The Stanley Center at the Broad Institute in Cambridge, MA, USA has generously supported the consortium from the start (Steve Hyman, Guoping Feng and Tyler Brown) and has now decided to continue support for the next two years by its new co-director and head of therapeutics, Morgan Sheng. With the support, CNCR is employing two scientists, including dr. Frank Koopmans, SYNGO’s lead bioinformatician and architect of SYNGO’s databases & interfaces, to coordinate the consortium and support SYNGO2 annotations and analyses.

The SYNGO consortium 2022: