PerspectivePROTEIN DESIGN

What I cannot create, I do not understand

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Science  19 Dec 2014:
Vol. 346, Issue 6216, pp. 1455-1456
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa2721

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Summary

Life today depends on the chemical activity of proteins. Scientists have attempted for decades to understand their intricate structures and diverse chemical activities and to emulate their properties by design. However, designing structured polypeptide chains—a prerequisite for creating functional proteins—has proven extremely challenging. Recent years have seen progress in the design of folded proteins in aqueous solution (1) and of proteins that are catalytically active (2), but the design of membrane proteins remains in its infancy (3). A landmark study by Joh et al. on page 1520 of this issue (4) meets two major challenges in the quest to engineer new proteins: the design of a folded membrane protein that performs a biomimetic function.

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