Using sophisticated computer algorithms running on standard desktop computers, researchers have designed and constructed a novel functional protein that is not found in nature. The achievement should enable researchers to explore larger questions about how proteins evolved and why nature “chose” certain protein folds over others.
A computer-generated image of the artificial protein, Top7
Image: Gautam Dantas/University of Washington
The ability to specify and design artificial proteins also opens the way for researchers to engineer artificial protein enzymes for use as medicines or industrial catalysts, said the studys lead author, Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator David Baker at the University of Washington.
Baker and colleagues Brian Kuhlman, who is now at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and graduate student Gautam Dantas at the University of Washington, published their studies in the November 21, 2003, issue of the journal Science. The scientists collaborated on the studies with other researchers at the University of Washington and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.
Jim Keeley | HHMI
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