Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Protein Construction May Be Governed by Simple Rules

HHMI News:

"'The studies indicate that the number of crucial interactions in a protein may be smaller than previously thought - a boon for those who want to design novel proteins from scratch to fulfill a specific function,' writes Jeffery Kelley of the Scripps Research Institute ... 'The design of artificial sequences having the capacity to fold into stable proteins with desired functions has been the holy grail of protein engineering for many years,' write Robert Smock and Lila Gierasch of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in a perspective in the September 23, 2005, issue of the journal Cell. 'From a protein engineering standpoint, the approach has great promise.' Ranganathan did not set out to build artificial proteins. He is interested in learning how nature designs proteins naturally through the evolutionary process of random variation and selection. But rebuilding a protein was the best way to assess a remarkably simple evolutionary hypothesis he discovered in genome databases. "