Protein Engineering - Rational Design of Proteins

Rational Design of Proteins

In rational protein design, the scientist uses detailed knowledge of the structure and function of the protein to make desired changes. This generally has the advantage of being inexpensive and technically easy, since site-directed mutagenesis techniques are well-developed. However, its major drawback is that detailed structural knowledge of a protein is often unavailable, and even when it is available, it can be extremely difficult to predict the effects of various mutations.

Computational protein design algorithms seek to identify novel amino acid sequences that are low in energy when folded to the pre-specified target structure. While the sequence-conformation space that needs to be searched is large, the most challenging requirement for computational protein design is a fast, yet accurate, energy function that can distinguish optimal sequences from similar suboptimal ones.

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