New CO2 Fixation Enzyme Puzzle 405

The world is facing two key energy challenges. First, we are overly reliant on a diminishing supply of liquid fuels. Second, we are emitting an ever-increasing amount of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, contributing to a worsening global warming problem. Renewable energy technologies, such as solar, wind, geothermal, and hydroelectric seek to address the first challenge by providing abundant, clean sources of energy. However, fundamental limitations of battery technology limit the applicability of these technologies to the transportation sector. This puzzle is a key piece of a potential solution to both of these problems. Our lab is currently developing a novel biological route to convert CO2 and electrical energy into gasoline and diesel fuels! This enzyme catalyzes a key reaction in this pathway, but it's activity needs to be improved.

It has been hypothesized that in order to catalyze the desired reaction the tail of this enzyme locks into place when the key substrates are present. There is no available structure of what the tail looks like when it covers the active site during the reaction, so we are turning to the Foldit community in order to see what they would predict the protein tail would do. We are very much looking forward to seeing what you predict the active conformation of this tail looks like!

( Posted by  beta_helix 127 7154  |  Mon, 03/14/2011 - 19:16  |  0 comments )
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Developed by: UW Center for Game Science, UW Institute for Protein Design, Northeastern University, Vanderbilt University Meiler Lab, UC Davis
Supported by: DARPA, NSF, NIH, HHMI, Amazon, Microsoft, Adobe, RosettaCommons