Can someone explain (or point me to an explanation of) exactly what is meant by all the different symbols I see used for writing genes and proteins?
I think I know that for genes, we use an italic font and for proteins, we use a regular font.
I think I've also learned that for human, all letters are in uppercase (eg. SHH) whereas for mouse, only the first letter is in uppercase and the remaining letters are in lowercase (Shh). (From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_nomenclature)
But I'm stumped with all the other "tags" (in quotes because that's how they seem to be used and I don't know how else to think of them) that I see floating around gene and protein symbols.
For example, Myc (MYC?).
I see these three articles in uniprot.org:
http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q99417 for C-Myc
http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P04198 for N-myc
http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P12524 for L-Myc
These proteins are all in human, and yet their recommended names are not all caps; what's up with that? But even more confusing to me are the "C-", "N-", and "L-" letters prefixed to them. What in the world are those supposed to be indicating?
Are these all fundamentally different proteins (coded by different genes), but maybe related somehow to each other (thus the common three letters, 'myc' even if they are not all the same case and not all upper case as I thought was supposed to be the case in human), and they are just given these "C-", "N-", and "L-" tags to distinguish one from the other? Does one tag indicate an oncogene or a proto-oncogene? Why do I sometimes see "c-Myc" and other times, "C-Myc"? Does the case of the "C-" mean something? Is there some kind of key or legend I can look at to get answers to all these questions? I've found some explanations in Scott Gilbert's Developmental Biology textbook, but it still doesn't give me all the answers I seek here
I just want to understand how these tags and symbols are being used because it seems to me that when I read research papers (of which I've read many), they are used by different authors in different papers in ways that are not consistent with each other. Either that, or else I'm missing something very basic, which is why I'm asking here.
Thanks in advance for any help.