is there a theory of protein folding?

Anton Karnoup akarnoup at
Mon Dec 9 11:39:45 EST 2002

Very immature statements.

The protein folding is a very tough  problem, and the world's best minds are
working on it for several years. It's not the fault of the scientists who
are trying very hard to solve it: the problem fundamentally is very complex.
Relativity theory was also not created overnight, but was a fruit of several
years of hard work of a genius.
Don't tell me "there is no beef there"; once the working universal folding
theory is created - and I'm sure it will be created, maybe via several more
years of hard theoretical and experimental work - it will enable lots of
practical applications (and it will be a true revolution),  from medicine to
creation of new materials.


The Dow Chemical Co.

"Matt" <mp6sf at> wrote in message
news:fec1375d.0212051455.d54fe7e at
> fec1375d.0212051446.528bb0f4 at>
>      I'd like to throw some thoughts to stimulate a discussion.
>      Protein folding has long attracted the interests of theoretical
> and
>      computational physicists, as well as other types of
> theoretically-minded         people.
>      There has been attempts to say something about folding based on
>      concepts inspired from spin glass theory, ``energy landscapes'',
> and
>      a plethora of statistical mechanical and other models. What did
>      this accomplish?
>      Not much, it seems to me. The spin glass analogy has proven
> pretty
>      much useless to understand what proteins really do. The ``new
> view'',
>      namely that folding is driven by a ``funnel''energy
>      landscape, is quite obvious from a physical point of view and
>      doesn't add anything really useful (to make predictions, that
> is).
>      Indeed, the basic physics (i.e. the physics which is common to
> all
>      proteins) is quite simple.
>      Despite this, the hype around protein folding physics continues
>      unabated. I would predict that at some points the funding
> agencies and
>      the public will realize that there isn't much beef here, and at
> that
>      point the whole field of energy landscape-ology etc. will be
> quickly
>      forgotten.
>      The real, important scientific issues in protein folding have to
> do to
>      the SPECIFIC behavior of a given protein and its interactions
> with
>      other molecules. The devil really is in the details here. But
> this is more
>      an experimental problem than anything else. One can hope that at
>      some points people will be able to do detailed, realistic
> simulations.
>      Whether these can provide insight that is not obtainable from
>      experiments remains to be seen, in my view.

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