Our project in detail
The figure illustrates the predicted (red) and the experimental (green) structure of the bacillus suptilus major cold shock protein, an universal nucleic acid binding domain. Such proteins are important for gene regulation under environmental stress.
Proteins are the nanoscale machinery of all the known cellular life.
Amazingly, these large biomolecules with up to 100,000 atoms fold into unique
three-dimensional shapes in which they function.
These functions include all cellular chemistry (metabolism), energy conversion (photosynthesis) and transport (oxygen transport), signal processing in the brain (neurons), immune response and many others, often with an efficiency unmatched by any man-made process. Protein malfunction is often related to diseases and thousands disease-related proteins have been identified to date, many with still unknown structure.
To understand, control or even design proteins we need to study protein structure, which is experimentally much harder to obtain than the information about the chemical composition (sequence) of a specific protein.
As of late, our core department of protein structure prediction has been complemented by other nanoscale molecule simulations. Within the scope of polymer crystallography we are e.g. researching conformations of organic hydrocarbonates.
Still focusing on proteins, this project keeps the established title POEM@HOME nevertheless.
By joining this project you will contribute to a computational approach to
- predict the biologically active structure of proteins
- understand the signal-processing mechanisms when the proteins interact with one another
- understand diseases related to protein malfunction or aggregation
- develop new drugs on the basis of the three-dimensions structure of biologically important proteins.
- simulate miscellaneous nanoscale systems, which are of importance for current biological or physical research
POEM@HOME implements a novel approach to understand these aspects of protein structure, which lends itself very well to worldwide distributed computing. The scientific approach behind POEM@HOME is a computational realization of the thermodynamic hypothesis that won C. B. Anfinsen the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1972.
So please help us, by joining POEM@HOME, solve the scientific mysteries described above and decipher the biological information encoded in proteins of unknown structure.
POEM@HOME is a purely academic, non-profit project to improve our understanding of biomolecular structure and function. All substantial result of POEM@HOME will be published in international peer reviewed journals with proper credit to the POEM@HOME volunteers.