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Determining the 3D structure of a protein is crucial to help scientists understand how it functions. However, this task can be very challenging. Proteins are made up of one or more chains of amino acids, which have various sizes, shapes, and charges affecting how they will interact with each other to form the folded structure of the protein.
Here, you will use Foldit to investigate how the amino acids in a protein interact with each other, to form an overall stable protein structure. For this class project, after downloading the Foldit game and creating a user account, you will have to complete all, or at least most, of the 32 "Intro Puzzles", as a good idea of the strategy used to solve more complex puzzles.
As an incentive, it is important to note that in 2011, Foldit users solved the structure of an HIV enzyme critical for the maturation and proliferation of the virus. See the paper describing this achievement below:
Firas Khatib, Frank DiMaio, Foldit Contenders Group, Foldit Void Crushers Group, Seth Cooper, Maciej Kazmierczyk, Miroslaw Gilski, Szymon Krzywda, Helena Zabranska, Iva Pichova, James Thompson, Mariusz Jaskolski, David Baker (2011). Crystal structure of a monomeric retroviral protease solved by protein folding game players. Nature Structural and Molecular Biology 18, 1175-1177, 2011.
Enjoy and Good luck!