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 31, 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 31, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) — Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) — Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) — At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) — The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
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