Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Protein folding made easy

Date:
June 8, 2011
Source:
McGill University
Summary:
Computational methods of modeling protein folding have existed for a couple of decades. But they required hundreds of thousands of CPU hours to compute the folding dynamics of 40 amino acids proteins. Now, researchers have developed algorithms 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.

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.
Credit: Image courtesy of McGill University

Protein folding is 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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by McGill University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

McGill University. "Protein folding made easy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110607121135.htm>.
McGill University. (2011, June 8). Protein folding made easy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110607121135.htm
McGill University. "Protein folding made easy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110607121135.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) — West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) — Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) — The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) — A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins