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Rationale for developing the Taxonomic Key Program (TKP)

    One need of investigators working in comparative immunology is an expedient way to determine whether a monoclonal antibody (mAb)-defined leukocyte differentiation molecule is an orthologue of a known molecule in humans or other species. Databases such as Protein Reviews on the Web (PROW) provide information on human proteins and genes and, where known, information on orthologous molecules in other species. This excellent program provides summary information on known molecules, pertinent references, and links to other databases. However, it is not designed to use physical characteristics of molecules to identify possible orthologues in other species. The TKP is designed to facilitate comparative analysis of mAb-defined molecules. The database can be queried based on 3 sets of criteria: 1) general characteristics of the molecule such as lineage restriction and its physical association with the cell membrane, 2) pattern of expression on leukocytes and tissue, and 3) molecular mass. Searches can be done using one or all the criteria. Data on known molecules with similar or identical characteristics to the mAb-defined molecule will be sorted. If there is a complete match, data on the apparent human equivalent will be presented. If the match is less precise, two or more possible matches are presented for evaluation. If further information is needed that is not available in the TKP database, a link is provided to PROW and other databases.

How to use TKP

  1. Select type of molecule. Is the molecule lineage restricted or unrestricted?
  2. Select subtype of molecule. Is the molecule a transmembrane molecule or is it GPI anchored?
  3. Enter up to 5 criteria that best describe the pattern of expression on leukocytes and/or tissue.
  4. Enter information on the apparent minimum and maximum molecular mass of the molecule.
  5. Run query. If none of the sorted molecules match, try different combinations of criteria that best describe the pattern of expression of the mAb-defined molecule. If no matches are found, the possibility exists that a new molecule has been identified.

Additions, corrections and comments on the TKP are welcome. Please email your input to Dr. William C. Davis


Revised December 11, 2003
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