Importance of knowing tertiary structure

Christian Barrett cbarrett at
Fri Jul 11 11:53:34 EST 1997

>> With this post I would like to generate a response from the community
>> about the impact of a successful computational method for determining
>> protein tertiary structure.  I am interested in the scope of its 
>> application; in how many (and which) different academic/industrial 
>> research areas would it have a profound effect?  And, what would this 
>> effect be?  Put another way, how would the world be changed?
>Why do you highlight "computational methods" for determining protein
>tertiary structure? You can answer your question by asking X-ray
>crystallographers or NMR spectroscopists what they hope to achieve
>by determining protein structures. 

Yes.  I guess what I'm really trying to get at is a picture of the
many different reasons why people do determine protein structures.

>All a _successful_ computational
>method would add to that would be the fact that the structure could
>be calculated quickly and without actually having to purify a
>tubeful of the protein in question. The world would be no more
>changed by someone solving the protein problem than it would by
>someone developing a completely automated NMR technique that can
>determine a protein's structure in 5 minutes.

Presumably this only applies to those proteins whose structures can
be solved and not, for instance, many membrane proteins.

So, are there applications that are not now attempted because the 
time overhead is too great to make them feasible?


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