The protein universe just got a lot brighter.
Researchers have mined a database containing the structures of nearly every known protein — more than 200 million entries predicted using Google DeepMind’s revolutionary AlphaFold neural network. The work has uncovered completely new shapes, surprising connections in the machinery of life, and other insights that would have been unthinkable a few years ago.
“Thanks to AlphaFold we can now explore entire families of proteins we knew nothing about,” says Eduard Porta Pardo, a computational biologist at Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute (IJC) in Barcelona, Spain, who was not involved in a pair of studies published1,2 on 13 September in Nature.
Last year, Google DeepMind used AlphaFold to predict the structure of nearly every known protein from organisms with genome data, amassing some 214 million structures in the AlphaFold database, which is hosted by the European Molecular Biology Laboratory’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) in Hinxton, UK.
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