Online Gaming for Predicting Protein Structure


A given sequence of amino acids in a polypeptide always folds into a particular three-dimensional structure. Thus, there must be some algorithm within the sequence that signals the protein to fold into a particular arrangement, excluding thousands of other possibilities. As of now, scientists have been unable to get hold of that algorithm. The nearest we have ever come to predicting protein structures is by homology matching or recognizing particular sequences to have a high tendency of folding into a particular secondary structure. If we are able to predict three-dimensional structures of proteins from the amino acid sequence with greater accuracy, we could be able to design novel proteins with desired structures.

Folder Madde's top scoring solution to the Mason pfizer monkey virus
Folder Madde’s top scoring solution to the Mason pfizer monkey virus

Fold.it is an online multi-player game which might solve the mystery behind protein folding. It lets people score points by assigning folding patterns to amino acid chains. You have the option of playing the game offline too. If a success, the game may provide a cure to HIV-AIDS, cancer and Alzheimer’s among other diseases.

Read about Fold.it in the scientific literature here and in popular science here.

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