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Team Proposes De Novo Protein Tool With Structural Design Capabilities

A biophysics and computational biology study appearing in PNAS highlights an algorithm aimed at designing new proteins by bringing in protein structure and folding insights. There, researchers from the Swiss Federal institute of Technology at Lausanne, the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, Lausanne, and other centers describe an approach that brings data-informed structural clues to a de novo design method known as TopoBuilder to boost new protein design, landing on protein backbone features that resemble native proteins. "We present an algorithm that automatically generates novel proteins from a minimal string definition with native-like geometries and show that current methods are insufficient for the generation of designable backbones," they write. "The variety of de novo designed proteins and the computational method should enlighten basic protein topological principles and facilitate the generation of de novo proteins to enable the exploration of the protein universe."