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Title: Manipulating and Visualizing Proteins

ProteinShop Gives Researchers a Hands-On Tool for Manipulating, Visualizing Protein Structures. The Human Genome Project and other biological research efforts are creating an avalanche of new data about the chemical makeup and genetic codes of living organisms. But in order to make sense of this raw data, researchers need software tools which let them explore and model data in a more intuitive fashion. With this in mind, researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Davis, have developed ProteinShop, a visualization and modeling program which allows researchers to manipulate protein structures with pinpoint control, guided in large part by their own biological and experimental instincts. Biologists have spent the last half century trying to unravel the ''protein folding problem,'' which refers to the way chains of amino acids physically fold themselves into three-dimensional proteins. This final shape, which resembles a crumpled ribbon or piece of origami, is what determines how the protein functions and translates genetic information. Understanding and modeling this geometrically complex formation is no easy matter. ProteinShop takes a given sequence of amino acids and uses visualization guides to help generate predictions about the secondary structures, identifying alpha helices and flat beta strands, and themore » coil regions that bind them. Once secondary structures are in place, researchers can twist and turn these pre-configurations until they come up with a number of possible tertiary structure conformations. In turn, these are fed into a computationally intensive optimization procedure that tries to find the final, three-dimensional protein structure. Most importantly, ProteinShop allows users to add human knowledge and intuition to the protein structure prediction process, thus bypassing bad configurations that would otherwise be fruitless for optimization. This saves compute cycles and accelerates the entire process, so that more and larger problems can be attempted. Currently, the program designers are working to make ProteinShop more applicable and adaptable to different protein folding methodologies. If users could manipulate structures from a biological point of view, and then put them back in the queue for more optimization, the process of experimentation and discovery in protein research could be greatly enhanced. The group is also investigating the use of stereoscopic rendering and three-dimensional input devices to remove the limitations of a two-dimensional interface. Clearly, protein-folding research will have far-reaching ramifications. It could lead to new insights about diseases ranging from Alzheimer's to Cystic fibrosis, which scientists believe are caused by protein folding gone wrong. A better understanding of protein structures could also lead to the engineering of altogether new proteins, and shed light on how drugs bind proteins to alter their structure and function. Above all, ProteinShop is an important tool that will help scientists unravel one of the most challenging problems that theoretical and computational chemistry has to offer.« less
Authors:
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
821906
Report Number(s):
LBNL/PUB--895
R&D Project: KN6734; TRN: US200411%%787
DOE Contract Number:
AC03-76SF00098
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Resource Relation:
Other Information: PBD: 5 Dec 2003
Research Org:
Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA (US)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Director, Office of Science. Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research. Mathematical, Information, and Computational Sciences Division (US)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES; 99 GENERAL AND MISCELLANEOUS//MATHEMATICS, COMPUTING, AND INFORMATION SCIENCE; AMINO ACIDS; CALIFORNIA; CHAINS; CHEMISTRY; DISEASES; FIBROSIS; FORECASTING; GENETICS; OPTIMIZATION; PROTEIN STRUCTURE; PROTEINS; QUEUES; SHAPE; SIMULATION PROTEIN STRUCTURE PREDICTION PROTEIN MANIPULATION