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Mar 31, 2019

Supercomputers help supercharge protein assembly

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, supercomputing

Red blood cells are amazing. They pick up oxygen from our lungs and carry it all over our body to keep us alive. The hemoglobin molecule in red blood cells transports oxygen by changing its shape in an all-or-nothing fashion. Four copies of the same protein in hemoglobin open and close like flower petals, structurally coupled to respond to each other. Using supercomputers, scientists are just starting to design proteins that self-assemble to combine and resemble life-giving molecules like hemoglobin. The scientists say their methods could be applied to useful technologies such as pharmaceutical targeting, artificial energy harvesting, ‘smart’ sensing and building materials, and more.

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