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Computing Structural Biology

The Next Top Protein Model

From building muscles to healing wounds, our bodies rely on proteins—chains of small molecules called amino acids that fold into unique shapes. Incorrectly folded proteins can cause disorders like sickle cell disease or cystic fibrosis. Ever-improving computer power is making it easier for researchers to predict how proteins fold and interact with other molecules, possibly leading to new treatments for protein-related disorders.

Web Exclusives

Computer-generated model of the HIV capsid. Credit: Juan R. Perilla and the Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Group, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.Imaging HIV's Inner Shell | 6/26/13
Scientists have determined the complete structure of the cocoon-like container that carries HIV's genome. The details could aid the development of new HIV drugs.

The Structures of Life VideoThe Structures of Life | 10/31/12
Learn how structural biology provides insight into health and disease and is useful in developing new medications.

Thermotoga maritimaMetabolic Network Takes Shape | 9/17/09
Researchers have added a third dimension—protein shapes—to a metabolic network map for new insights about basic biology and evolution.

An NMR protein structure solved by the Northeast Structural Genomics Consortium. Advancing Protein Studies with Worldwide Software Experiment | 8/28/09
Structural biologists and computer programmers team up to test how well software programs can turn structural data into picture of a protein.

A model of the active site of IMPDH. The gray arrows (left) show the vestigial pathway, and the black arrow (right) shows the modern one. Credit: Lizbeth Hedstrom Teamwork Opens Evolutionary Window | 10/22/08
An enzymologist and computational biochemist join forces to open a window into the mysteries of evolution.

a player wrangling a protein into a more compact shape. Credit: University of Washington
Protein Puzzlers | 6/25/08
Rather than chasing bad guys and monsters, gamers can now spend screen time helping scientists figure out protein folding.

From the Print Issue

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This page last reviewed on July 1, 2013