Sneak Preview: HIV Design Game
We are approaching a release date for our first protein design game. In these classes of games, you will still fold proteins, pack them in the smallest possible places, bury the hydrophobics, etc. In addition you will be able to craft different parts of the protein in order to achieve secondary goals. For example, an additional goal could be that the external shape of the created protein fits very nicely with a virus, or any other molecule.
You will be crafting proteins by changing the actual amino acids anywhere on the backbone, and even extending the protein sequence. There will be a few new tools, and even some additional requirements for a successful design aside from the score. To get you ready to make your own proteins we will be introducing new set of level puzzles specifically focusing on protein design.
We are particularly excited about this new chapter in foldit evolution because there are practically no automated methods for protein design -- you will be primarily competing with the biochemistry experts to find the best novel protein structures. In my view, I think foldit players will likely provide even greater advancement to science with design problems. The best part is that each set of puzzles will be focusing on a different target, such as an HIV virus. The best scoring proteins will then be synthesized in the biochemistry lab in order to confirm it's folding structure and the protein function. The biochemists focusing on the specific problems will keep us all up to date with the findings. These findings in turn will produce new design puzzles for us to work on. Effectively, you will all be the crucial part of the scientific exploration process!
The first design puzzle will focus on the HIV virus. Some time around the release date, we will introduce you to the biochemist who will describe the objective, and the scientific hypothesis you will be working on. The tentative release date is second part of March.