News of the WeekPROTEIN FOLDING

Virtual Molecules Nail Bacteria's Weapon

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Science  02 Feb 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5505, pp. 809
DOI: 10.1126/science.291.5505.809A

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Summary

Increasingly reliable mathematical models can now predict parts of the three-dimensional structure of proteins much faster than they can be determined by x-ray crystallography or nuclear magnetic resonance. In the latest computer-assisted coup, mathematicians and biologists have developed a program that predicts in milliseconds whether a protein folds into a structure called a b helix. To their surprise, they found that a protein with a b helix is like a child with a can of spray paint: It's almost surely up to no good.