We are hoping you’ll be able to help us out with a new Foldit puzzle!
A structure for Wnt, a protein that is crucial to the embryonic development of all animals, was released a few days ago. An expanded understanding of Wnt will likely shed light on topics ranging from cancer and stem cell biology to tissue regeneration.
The presence of a fatty acid (a hydrophobic chain that makes up the regular "fats" we encounter on a daily basis) at one of the binding sites of Wnt to its target protein Frizzled (Fz) has delayed attempts to obtain this particular protein structure.
The puzzle we have uploaded includes a 118 residue chain (Fz) with a 10 residue helix positioned over the groove that would normally hold Wnt’s fatty acid. The side chains in this groove on Fz have been unfrozen. The fatty acid and its groove on Fz are both hydrophobic, which allows for binding in nature. With this puzzle, we are aiming to replace the fatty acid with hydrophobic side chains sticking down from the small helix.
We believe that it is important to preserve the helical nature of the 10 residue chain, because we will graft that stable structure onto a larger protein to facilitate binding tests in the near future.
Try it now: http://fold.it/portal/node/992879
We will have a Scientist Chat tomorrow to discuss this puzzle. The Scientist Chat will be on Friday June 8th at 11:30am PDT (18:30 GMT). Hope you can make it!