New Update: Symmetry!
We've just released an update which introduces a new concept to Foldit: Symmetry!
Symmetry in proteins refers to what we call oligomers: proteins that use many identical copies of themselves to bind together and form a "symmetric" complex. We call it symmetry because each copy folds the exact same way, and these copies arrange themselves with rotational or translational symmetry.
In the past, Foldit has only been capable of handling what we call monomers, which are not symmetric. With this update, we'll be able to have puzzles on a whole new array of structures (as it turns out, most proteins are symmetric!). Symmetric structures are also central to the design of nano-materials, and we'll be posting design puzzles to take advantage of this. The best part is, many of these proteins are small, and can be handled by Foldit.
Symmetry in Foldit works like this: you have one copy of the protein that you work on. This is called the independent unit. Around this copy, there are many other 'locked' copies that are symmetric. When you change the independent unit, the other copies will change themselves too. The goal is still to maximize your score, but now you are scored on two things: both how well the protein itself forms, and how well it interfaces with itself.(Thu, 11/10/2011 - 02:00 | 2 comments)