Foldit's 10 Year Anniversary!
Today marks the 10-year anniversary of Foldit’s launch on May 9, 2008!
In the past decade, Foldit players have advanced protein science by accurately predicting the structure of a viral protein1, by developing an algorithm for protein modeling2, and by redesigning a protein enzyme with improved activity3. Foldit players have shown that they can refine protein models better than sophisticated computer programs4, and that they can interpret electron density maps as well as expert crystallographers5. We have high hopes for the next 10 years of Foldit, and can't wait to see what Foldit players will discover next!
Protein Design in Foldit
Most recently, Foldit players have been designing brand new proteins from scratch. The ability to design proteins is a big milestone for Foldit players, and we’re excited about the new types of problems that we can start to tackle with protein design in Foldit! This achievement has been a long time in the making—below you can review previous blog posts to follow this progress over the last four years. Play the latest design puzzle now!
Nov. 1, 2013 - First batch of Foldit player-designed proteins selected for testing
Mar. 25, 2014 - Improvements in Foldit player-designed proteins
Jun. 18, 2014 - First positive testing results for a Foldit player-designed protein
Feb. 10, 2015 - First alpha/beta Foldit designs selected for testing
Feb. 28, 2017 - Better backbones yield promising alpha/beta designs
Mar. 1, 2017 - Diverse player designs fold up in the wet lab
Apr. 15, 2017 - Protein crystallography of a Foldit player design
May 30, 2017 - X-ray diffraction of a protein crystal
A high-resolution crystal structure (cyan) aligned with the design model (green) shows that this protein folds up just as it was designed by Waya, Galaxie, and Susume. The protein backbone aligns to the design with a Cα RMSD of 1.1 Å, and the sidechains in the protein core pack just as intended.
Small Molecule Design in Foldit
We’re also excited to ramp up small-molecule design in Foldit, allowing Foldit players to create new ligands that could bind to protein targets! Play the latest small-molecule design puzzle now!
New tools allow Foldit players to build small molecules that can bind to protein targets
We'd like to thank all the Foldit players that have contributed to Foldit over the last 10 years! None of this would have been possible without you! Happy folding!
1. Khatib, F. et al. Crystal structure of a monomeric retroviral protease solved by protein folding game players. Nat Struct Mol Biol 18, 1175–1177 (2011).
2. Khatib, F. F. et al. Algorithm discovery by protein folding game players. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 108, 18949–18953 (2011).
3. Eiben, C. B. et al. Increased Diels-Alderase activity through backbone remodeling guided by Foldit players. Nature Biotechnology 30, 190–192 (2012).
4. Cooper, S. et al. Predicting protein structures with a multiplayer online game. Nature 466, 756–760 (2010).
5. Horowitz, S. et al. Determining crystal structures through crowdsourcing and coursework. Nat Commun 7, 12549 (2016).
We've just released an update to the game with the following fixes and features:
* Added the Pin Tool - this allows players to have greater control over where the changes to the protein backbone are rooted. To access, go to the view options and check 'Show backbone pins' (off by default, and not shown when 'advanced gui' isn't enabled). A pin will appear over each piece of protein representing where the piece is rooted. Left click and drag to move it, right click to keep the piece from moving. You can find a quick demonstration here.
* Added additional info to Foldit's crash reporting system to better track down bugs.
* The Ideal loops gallery has been removed from the RamaMapPanel. The Rama map also now shouldn't take up processing resources when it not visible.
* Sound has been re-enabled.
* Fixed some small memory leaks.
* Improved performance for several visualizations.
* Various fixes and improvements for drug-design related tools and scoring.
Note that we have removed the experimental UI/tutorial changes. Those should be popping back up in devprev soon, pending some fixes and modifications based on your feedback.
As always, thanks to our devprev players for helping test the release!(Mon, 05/07/2018 - 17:56 | 0 comments)
Electron Density for Foldit Player Design
We recently solved the crystal structure of a protein designed by fiendish_ghoul in Puzzle 1331! The crystal structure shows that the protein folds up exactly as fiendish_ghoul originally designed it, with a Cα RMSD of 0.9 angstroms! Congratulations to fiendish_ghoul! We've uploaded the refined electron density map into Puzzle 1516, so players can try folding a model into the electron density. Check it out now!(Wed, 05/02/2018 - 23:01 | 0 comments)
Updating macOS version to 64-bit
Since Apple will soon be limiting support for 32-bit applications (https://developer.apple.com/news/?id=06282017a), we will be updating the macOS version of Foldit to 64-bit in an upcoming update, and the existing 32-bit version of Foldit will no longer be supported. This will likely require re-downloading the macOS installer.(Tue, 04/24/2018 - 20:05 | 1 comment)
Citizen Science Day Heroes
It's Citizen Science Day and the fine folks over at the Human Computation Institute together with SciStarter have put together an event called the CitSciDay HERO Challenge. Players go around and try out some cool citizen science games and earn badges. You may have guessed it, Foldit is involved this year! There are likely to be some fresh faces in chat from people coming by to earn their badge and try Foldit on for size. If you want to check out the event (or claim your Foldit badge!) check out the blog post here.(Sat, 04/14/2018 - 16:47 | 0 comments)