Computers Make Big Strides in Predicting Protein Structure

September 16, 2005 | Source: KurzweilAI

Computers can predict the detailed structure of small proteins nearly as well as experimental methods, at least some of the time, according to new studies by Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers.

The findings, which were reported in the September 16, 2005, issue of the journal Science, suggest that scientists eventually may be able to determine the structure of proteins from their genomic sequences, a problem that has seemed insurmountable.

The results come from a refinement of a sophisticated computer modeling program called Rosetta, which works on the premise that proteins collapse into their lowest energy state, like a ball that rolls down a hill until it comes to rest on level ground. The energies of hundreds of thousands of possible shapes generated by the computer are computed, and the lowest energy shape is selected as the prediction.

Source: Howard Hughes Medical Institute news release