February 3rd, 2012 | Category: Computing, Papers, Protein design, Synthetic Biology, Video | Leave a comment

Foldit article in Nature Biotechnology

For those interested in crowd-sourcing biological conundrums, there is an article in Nature Biotechnology about Foldit, the online protein folding game – solving puzzles for science.

The objective of the game is to fold proteins using tools provided within the game. The highest scoring solutions are analysed by researchers, who determine whether or not there is a native structural configuration (or native state) that can be applied to the relevant proteins.

Foldit provides a FAQ page with more details about the game, and further information about the science behind it, but briefly, you need to pack the protein into a compact space, hide your hydrophobic residues and make sure no atoms are present in the same space at the same time.

Here is a short clip,

Foldit was used by last year’s iGEM winners to design mutations in their enzyme (see also this Ars Technica article on enzyme engineering). Further publications can be found here and here (for crowd-sourcing)here (the new Diels-Alderase paper) and here (a previous HIV paper). And of course they also have a blog, here and a link to the right.

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