‘The game has changed.’ AI triumphs at solving protein structures
In milestone, software predictions finally match structures calculated from experimental data
This is two years since CASP-13 and this looks to be an even bigger breakthrough in technology. Wondering if these folks will get a Nobel for this (seems likely).
“All of the groups in this year’s competition improved, Moult says. But with AlphaFold, Lupas says, “The game has changed.” The organizers even worried DeepMind may have been cheating somehow. So Lupas set a special challenge: a membrane protein from a species of archaea, an ancient group of microbes. For 10 years, his research team tried every trick in the book to get an x-ray crystal structure of the protein. “We couldn’t solve it.”
But AlphaFold had no trouble. It returned a detailed image of a three-part protein with two long helical arms in the middle. The model enabled Lupas and his colleagues to make sense of their x-ray data; within half an hour, they had fit their experimental results to AlphaFold’s predicted structure. “It’s almost perfect,” Lupas says. “They could not possibly have cheated on this. I don’t know how they do it.””Posted on 2020-12-01T04:39:23+0000