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Work of Genes - Protein Folding

26 Oct 2016

Microbiologist says about structural biology, protein structure prediction methods and crowdsourcing in science. What is studying structural biology? What role is played by proteins in the human body? As the cell controls the structure of proteins?

by itself is not sufficient protein sequence to determine its function. In order for the protein to work, it should fold - in three-dimensional space to find some special shape or structure, which will ensure its biological function. Squirrels know how to do it, because the protein with a particular sequence in certain biologically relevant conditions always will be curtailed as it is necessary. They know how to curl, and we - no. And that, oddly enough, seems to be one of the main problems of modern biology. Biology The problem is not to beat cancer, not stem cells, and certainly not immortal. The fundamental problem, which is studying biology, which really should be allowed - it's like proteins are able to interpret their sequence of letters to fold into a specific three-dimensional structure, which provides the function. We do not know how they do it, so are forced to engage in structural biology. There invested a lot of money, we need very sophisticated equipment, synchrotrons are necessary in order to resolve the structure of proteins, to see what form takes molecule.

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About the most important proteins say they are conservative. This means that they were in great- granddad or great-grandmother of all existing life. One of the groups of genes whose products are absolutely conserved, are the genes encoding the so-called chaperones - before they were called heat shock proteins. This is of special machines in the cell, all of which function to fold proteins correctly folded back. Work some of them quite remarkable way. It's a great protein with a hole inside the barrel, the number of barrels greatly increased, for example, when the temperature rises. This means that you have a heat shock occurs. And then there is this: all proteins whose structure is slightly disrupted and became not what it is necessary to go to the shop for repairs. They are all loaded into the barrel of this, go through it, it is wasted energy. For a cell is not free. Outside of the barrel goes protein that collapsed as it should.

Under the prediction of protein folding is meant that with the help of computer simulation, you want to come up with an algorithm that allows you to fold proteins correctly. Apparently, this is the rare case when a new form of scientific activities, such crowdsourcing help solve a problem that scientists themselves can not solve. The fact that in some way the human brain can very well solve the puzzles in the spirit of Tetris - put some things in such a way that the packaging of objects in three-dimensional space was most dense. Proteins fold to some extent as well. A few years ago there was a computer game, and just a year ago, there were articles in a very prestigious scientific journals, the authors of which were strange people - students, for example, an American truck drivers. Why? Because Foldit program was invented - literally "Gather it." In this program, there are scientific rules, but the goal - to roll the protein sequence is the best way.

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