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dmw's picture
User offline. Last seen 52 years 34 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 03/19/2009
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Hello folders,

It has become evident that playing the game raises an interest in protein folding, diseases and possible ways to cure them.

Unfortunately, there is not much info on these topics provided on the fold.it website, so below are a couple of links that you might find useful.

(NOTE: the post was meant to be as simple as possible and therefore includes quite some wikipedia links. If you need more professional and reliable info please contact me)

You can find a very, very basic intro to proteins here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protein

Once you know what a proteins is, and spent some time folding them, you might want to know more about the process of protein folding.

www.rcsb.org - will give you a general introduction to why and how proteins fold, why they fold in the first place and how the folding process may be aided by other proteins, called chaperones. You will get to know what "primary", "secondary" and "tertiary" structure is and learn some terminology useful for the fold.it chat.

Of course if all proteins were folded, life would be too simple ;) Here you can read about proteins that are natively unfolded - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intrinsically_unstructured_proteins

Ok, now we know something about folding, but what happens if a protein does not fold properly? In general misfolded proteins are taken care of by either allowing them "another chance" (again with the help of chaperones) or they get "utilized" by the proteasome - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proteasome

In case the protective mechanisms are not functioning well, protein misfolding may lead to disease. A large group of protein misfolding diseases are amyloidoses, which include Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and prion diseases (e.g. Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease in humans or the mad cow disease). More info here: http://www.amyloidosis.org/whatisit.asp

To be able to cure the disease, we need to develop an understanding of how proteins fold and misfold. Currently our understanding of the process is based on linking the already know structures to the aminoacid sequence and in this way trying to predict structures of other proteins. In a "computing" approach this is done by Rosetta ( http://boinc.bakerlab.org/rosetta/ ) and fold.it is an experiment to check whether humans can also fold proteins based on pattern recognition, or what some people would call intuition. Rosetta and fold.it are both from the lab of David Baker ( http://depts.washington.edu/bakerpg/ )

If you like fold.it you can also help science by running Rosetta@home ( http://boinc.bakerlab.org/rosetta/ ) or Folding@home ( http://folding.stanford.edu/English/Science )

Another interesting websites to visit are www.rcsb.org where you can look up structures of thousands of proteins, and http://www.expasy.ch/ - a database of bioinformatic tools which include software for prediction of structure from sequence etc.

I hope this helps you to get a better understanding of protein folding. If you have additional questions or any comments please let me know. I will do my best to provide answers for any "curious minds".

Happy folding everyone,

P.S. I think the devs owe me a beer ;)

Joined: 09/18/2009
Groups: SETI.Germany

This should also be a sticky topic.

AnnieD1's picture
User offline. Last seen 11 years 8 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 06/22/2011
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Getting to play

I wonder whether you can help me get started - I've downloaded and registered and logged in. But when I double click on the foldit icon I get through to a lot of news and blogs but not to actually play the games. How do you get to start playing?

gramps's picture
User offline. Last seen 8 years 12 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 12/16/2010


Welcome to foldit, Annie! Visit the sticky forum topic at the above link for information on this. To play the actual game locally on your computer you'll have to click on the icon the game install put on your desktop, or similar. See you around :-)

Byron66's picture
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Joined: 12/19/2012
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Thank you!

I worked through the first 8 tutorials and did well (it's easy to follow directions) but really didn't understand why the moves were important and am still trying to understand the scoring. But, your explanations are great. The devs should make your post part of the FAQS.

Joined: 12/18/2012
Groups: None
Just started

Wondering if there is some one who could walk a beginner through

Joined: 03/15/2013
Groups: None
I just started too

I've just started playing FoldIt. I agree with the person above, there should be some forum that includes someone volunteering to pair up with a beginner to show him/her the techniques and things to fold proteins, and basically teach that beginner the basic concepts.

marie_s's picture
User offline. Last seen 2 years 18 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 05/18/2008
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Help on folding

Where can you find help :
- the wikis
- the global chat

- the teams http://fold.it/portal/groups

- the recipes http://fold.it/portal/recipes

Why you should not hurry to find help
- the best way to help is to find your own strategy not to copy another one strategy,
- searching is fun, have a big score with another strategy or recipes not so much after all,
- take time to join a team.

Every senior player will say to you that be under #100 in your first sciences puzzles, under #40 on some puzzles after a few month is a good score.


Developed by: UW Center for Game Science, UW Institute for Protein Design, Northeastern University, Vanderbilt University Meiler Lab, UC Davis
Supported by: DARPA, NSF, NIH, HHMI, Amazon, Microsoft, Adobe, Boehringer Ingelheim, RosettaCommons