Proteins from Scratch

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Science  03 Oct 1997:
Vol. 278, Issue 5335, pp. 80-81
DOI: 10.1126/science.278.5335.80

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It is not easy to predict a protein's structure from its linear amino acid sequence, and the reverse problem--designing a protein that will assume a particular folded shape--is even harder. But on page 82 in this issue, Dahiyat and Mayo have succeeded in creating a zinc finger fold de novo, which forms the same shaped protein as the natural one but without the usual stabilizing zinc ion. In his Perspective, DeGrado explains why this problem has been so intractable and where we can go now that Dahiyat and Mayo have paved the way.