Protein folding has nothing to do with laundry. It is, in fact, one of the central questions in biochemistry. Protein folding is the continual and universal process whereby the long, coiled strings of amino acids that make up proteins in all living things fold into more complex three-dimensional structures. By understanding how proteins fold, and what structures they are likely to assume in their final form, researchers are then able to move closer to predicting their function.
This is important because incorrectly folded proteins in humans result in such devastating diseases as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, emphysema and cystic fibrosis. Developing better modelling techniques for protein folding is crucial to creating more effective pharmaceutical treatments for these and other diseases.
Computational methods of modelling protein folding have existed for a couple of decades. But what McGill researcher Jérôme Waldispühl of the McGill Centre for Bioinformatics has done, working with collaborators from MIT, is to develop algorithms that can work from a laptop computer to examine a protein’s fundamental chemical properties and then scan a number of possible protein shapes before predicting the final form that the protein is likely to take.
The results have been impressive. Whereas classical techniques for predicting protein folding pathways required hundreds of thousands of CPU hours to compute the folding dynamics of 40 amino acids proteins, the program tFolder implemented by Solomon Shenker – a former McGill undergraduate student now at Cornell – has been able to predict correctly in 10 minutes on a single laptop, a coarse-grained representation of the folding pathways of a protein with 60 amino acids.
Waldispühl and his students continue to work on their algorithm to improve its success rate at predicting protein folding with broader categories of proteins including some that are important in DNA-binding. The research was recently presented at the 15th Annual International Conference in Research in Computational Molecular Biology (RECOMB 2011).
The research was funded by McGill and the NSERC discovery grant program.
For more information: http://csb.cs.mcgill.ca/tfolder
Katherine Gombay | EurekAlert!
Transport of molecular motors into cilia
28.03.2017 | Aarhus University
Asian dust providing key nutrients for California's giant sequoias
28.03.2017 | University of California - Riverside
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
29.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
29.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
29.03.2017 | Earth Sciences