Pharmacology is at a crucial point, because for the first time we have access to sequences for almost all of the receptors in the human genome. This is a unique opportunity to make a rare definitive scientific statement because the task of annotating sequence for function is a task for pharmacologists, in conjunction with our other scientific partners.
Receptors are the site of action for many of the currently available drugs and the definition of the majority of the receptors in genome is eagerly awaited. The IUPHAR receptor list is a step forward. To this end, NC-IUPHAR has established close links with the Human Genome Organisation (HUGO), which attributes gene names; the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), to standardise correct use of drug names; and the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (IUBMB) to collaborate on receptor-related enzyme nomenclature.
The IUPHAR Receptor Database is housed at the European Bioinformatics Institute, where it was developed through an academic collaboration with SWISS-PROT. They have experience of building comprehensive and fully relational databases and host the IUPHAR-RD on their powerful international servers. The database will change the way we work at NC-IUPHAR, giving the capability to access sequences, chemical formulae, bioassay data and literature that cannot be reproduced in our paper publications. This will be a unique and widely accessible repository of pharmacological knowledge.
This is a unique tool for pharmacologists (indeed for all scientists involved in receptor research) and we believe it should fundamentally change the way in which we work.