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).