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The coming of age of de novo protein design

David Baker, University of Washington
Thursday, May 16, 2019 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm
PAT C-520

Proteins mediate the critical processes of life and beautifully solve the challenges faced during the evolution of modern organisms. Our goal is to design a new generation of proteins that address current day problems not faced during evolution. In contrast to traditional protein engineering efforts, which have focused on modifying naturally occurring proteins, we design new proteins from scratch based on Anfinsen’s principle that proteins fold to their global free energy minimum. We compute amino acid sequences predicted to fold into proteins with new structures and functions, produce synthetic genes encoding these sequences, and characterize them experimentally. I will describe the de novo design of fluorescent proteins,  membrane penetrating macrocycles, transmembrane protein channels,  allosteric proteins that carry out logic operations, and self assembling protein unbounded 1 and 2D materials and polyhedra.