Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Shape of Them All

A new database includes the predicted shape of nearly every protein found in the human body, BBC News reports, adding that this catalog could help speed drug development.

Researchers from DeepMind, a subsidiary of Alphabet, and their colleagues at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory used the AlphaFold machine-learning program to determine the structure of 98.5 percent of the proteins of the human proteome. As they report in the journal Nature this week, the DeepMind researchers have confidently predicted the structural positions of about 58 percent of amino acids and have a very high degree of confidence for about 36 percent of amino acids.

The researchers are making this data as well as protein structure predictions for 20 model organisms — a total of about 350,000 protein structures — available under a Creative Commons license through the European Bioinformatics Institute, Ars Technica adds.

"Structural biologists are not yet used to the idea that they can just look up anything in a matter of seconds, rather than take years to experimentally determine these things," Demis Hassabis, DeepMind founder and CEO, says at TechCrunch. "And I think that should lead to whole new types of approaches to questions that can be asked and experiments that can be done."

The BBC notes that the database could help in developing new drugs and TechCrunch adds that DeepMind and EMBL have partnered with the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Institute.

The Scan

Study Finds Sorghum Genetic Loci Influencing Composition, Function of Human Gut Microbes

Focusing on microbes found in the human gut microbiome, researchers in Nature Communications identified 10 sorghum loci that appear to influence the microbial taxa or microbial metabolite features.

Treatment Costs May Not Coincide With R&D Investment, Study Suggests

Researchers in JAMA Network Open did not find an association between ultimate treatment costs and investments in a drug when they analyzed available data on 60 approved drugs.

Sleep-Related Variants Show Low Penetrance in Large Population Analysis

A limited number of variants had documented sleep effects in an investigation in PLOS Genetics of 10 genes with reported sleep ties in nearly 192,000 participants in four population studies.

Researchers Develop Polygenic Risk Scores for Dozens of Disease-Related Exposures

With genetic data from two large population cohorts and summary statistics from prior genome-wide association studies, researchers came up with 27 exposure polygenic risk scores in the American Journal of Human Genetics.