PerspectiveStructural Biology

Learning to Speak the Language of Proteins

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Science  21 Nov 2003:
Vol. 302, Issue 5649, pp. 1347-1348
DOI: 10.1126/science.1092492

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Structural biologists have spent decades pondering the protein-folding problem, which seeks to explain how a simple string of amino acids self-assembles into a complex three-dimensional folded protein. In his Perspective, Jones explores progress in this arena, discussing the leap forward made by Kuhlman et al . These investigators have designed a protein from scratch on the computer and then synthesized and analyzed it in atomic detail using x-ray crystallography and NMR spectroscopy. The synthesized version of their new protein matches the computer prediction, representing a big step forward for the field of structural biology.