Basic Rules of Protein Folding
31 Dec 2008 | Online Presentations | Contributor(s): Seth Lichter
How are proteins made? Inside cells, messenger RNA first instructs the ribosomes as to the order which amino acids should be joined together. Linked together and released from the ribosome, the protein is not functional. It now needs to fold into a precise three-dimensional shape. There are no DNA or RNA instructions to the unfolded protein informing it how to fold—the protein somehow self-assembles. How this is accomplished is a question taxes even the most massive CPUs. We take an alternative to the usual computational approach and seek fundamental principles of folding which can be easily implemented. We show how a set of simple rules qualitatively reproduces the pathway for protein folding. The usefulness of these rules is firstly as a tutorial guide in understanding protein folding. Secondly, they may serve to guide large-scale protein-folding programs to compute more efficiently.