New Symmetric Beta Core Design Puzzles
Structured dimeric and trimeric peptides are great starting points for a major bioengineering challenge.
Specifically, they can be used as building blocks for designing useful, rigid assemblies of proteins, like crystals and nanocages. The smallest such starting point for this kind of design is an ...WXCXW... motif, which forms a tiny structured homodimer: a short beta sheet stabilized by a cross-strand disulfide bond and two tryptophan/tryptophan interactions.
The only problem: this motif is so tiny, it is difficult to do anything with; it needs to be larger but retain rigidity. Otherwise anything goes: beta sheets, alpha helix docking, rigid loops, you name it.
We've given you 20 extra residues to play with on this first puzzle (http://fold.it/portal/node/992625) and can't wait to see what you can do!
The most viable looking of the top-10 high scoring structures will be made and characterized; we'll let you know how it turns out!
For more info & background about these puzzles, check out the transcript from my Scientist Chat: