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Protein Folding Made Easy

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A McGill University researcher and collaborators from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have achieved impressive results with an algorithm for predicting protein folding in humans.

Jerome Waldispuhl, a researcher at the McGill Center for Bioinformatics, says the algorithm can work from a laptop computer to examine the fundamental chemical properties of a protein, and then scan a number of possible protein shapes before predicting the final form that the protein is likely to take.

The program, called tFolder, was used by Cornell University's Solomon Shenker to correctly predict in 10 minutes a coarse-grained representation of the folding pathways of a protein with 60 amino acids. Classical techniques require hundreds of thousands of CPU hours to compute the folding dynamics of 40 amino acids proteins.

Waldispuhl's team will continue to improve the algorithm's success rate at predicting protein folding with broader categories of proteins. Better modeling techniques for protein folding are needed to develop more effective drug treatments for diseases.

From McGill University
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