WEDNESDAY, 28 SEPTEMBER 2011
Protein folding is a complex process, resulting in a highly specific arrangement of groups. This arrangement is vital for protein function, and so structure prediction is essential for understanding the roles of proteins, determining drug targets, and designing new proteins to treat disease. This is extremely computationally expensive and takes a lot of time. But the Foldit project uses human 3-dimensional pattern-matching skills and the ingenuity of gamers in puzzle solving to make progress which computers alone cannot. This is the first instance of ‘games with a purpose’ being used to provide a solution to a longstanding scientific problem .
A download of the game can be found at http://foldit.centerforgamescience.com
Written by Anand Jagatia
- Khatib, F., DiMaio, F., Foldit Contenders Group, Foldit Void Crushers Group, Cooper, S., Kazmierczyk, M., Gilski, M., Krzywda, S., Zabranska, H., Pichova, I., Thompson, J., Popović, Z., Jaskolski, M. & Baker, D. (2011). Crystal structure of a monomeric retroviral protease solved by protein folding game players. Nature Structural & Molecular Biology. DOI:10.1038/nsmb.2119