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New designer proteins mimic DNA

To close out the year, we published a new report describing the creation of proteins that mimic DNA. We believe this breakthrough will aid the creation of bioactive nanomachines. DNA is a widely used building material at the nanoscale because it is simple and predictable: A pairs with T and C pairs with G. Because …

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Dynamic filaments from scratch

Built to be reversible There has been some success in designing stable peptide filaments; however, mimicking the reversible assembly of many natural protein filaments is challenging. Dynamic filaments usually comprise independently folded and asymmetric proteins and using such building blocks requires the design of multiple intermonomer interfaces. Shen et al. report the design of self-assembling …

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Rolling out new jellies

The basic parts of proteins — helices, strands and loops — can be combined in countless ways. But certain combinations are trickier than others. This week scientists from the IPD, along with collaborators in Brno and Santa Cruz, published the first-ever example of designed non-local beta-strand interactions. Beta-sheet proteins carry out critical functions in biology, …

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Fluorescent proteins designed from scratch

In the summer of 1961, Osamu Shimomura drove across the country in a cramped station wagon to scoop jellyfish from the docks of Friday Harbor. He wanted to discover what made them glow. It took Shimomura and other biochemists more 30 years to find a full answer. By then, recombinant DNA technology allowed researchers to …

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Synthetic nucleocapsids encapsulate their own genome

A report this week describes the first synthetic protein assemblies — dubbed synthetic nucleocapsids — that encapsulate their own genome and evolve in complex environments. The lead authors were Gabe Butterfield and Marc Lajoie. Synthetic nucleocapsids are built to resemble viral capsids and could be used in future to deliver therapeutics to specific cells and …

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Exploring the peptide landscape

IPD researchers report the computational design of a new world of small cyclic peptides, or “macrocycles”. Natural macrocycles such as cyclosporine are among the most potent therapeutics identified to date, having the benefits of small molecule drugs, like aspirin, and large antibody therapies, like rituximab, with fewer drawbacks. There is considerable interest in expanding this …

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Building 20,000 new drug candidates

In another major leap forward, researchers at the IPD have just published a revolutionary method for generating brand new protein drugs. These new drugs – called “mini-protein binders” – combine the specificity of antibodies with the high stability and manufacturability of small molecule drugs. The new de novo designed mini-protein binders were custom built to target either a …

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Data-driven protein design

This summer saw a major advance in protein science: data-driven design. For decades, researchers have been trying to decode the rules of protein folding by studying how the complex, highly specialized proteins in nature hold their shapes. It’s a bit like trying to figure out how an airplane works – at its most fundamental level …

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