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Publication - Professor Dek Woolfson

    Computational design of water-soluble α-helical barrels


    Thomson, AR, Wood, CW, Burton, AJ, Bartlett, GJ, Sessions, RB, Brady, RL & Woolfson, DN, 2014, ‘Computational design of water-soluble α-helical barrels’. Science, vol 346., pp. 485-488


    The design of protein sequences that fold into prescribed de novo structures is challenging. General solutions to this problem require geometric descriptions of protein folds and methods to fit sequences to these. The α-helical coiled coils present a promising class of protein for this and offer considerable scope for exploring hitherto unseen structures. For α-helical barrels, which have more than four helices and accessible central channels, many of the possible structures remain unobserved. Here, we combine geometrical considerations, knowledge-based scoring, and atomistic modeling to facilitate the design of new channel-containing α-helical barrels. X-ray crystal structures of the resulting designs match predicted in silico models. Furthermore, the observed channels are chemically defined and have diameters related to oligomer state, which present routes to design protein function.

    Full details in the University publications repository