promising

Africa: AI Makes Huge Progress Predicting How Proteins Fold – One of Biology’s Greatest Challenges – Promising Rapid Drug Development

Takeaways

A “deep learning” software program from Google-owned lab DeepMind showed great progress in solving one of biology’s greatest challenges – understanding protein folding.

Protein folding is the process by which a protein takes its shape from a string of building blocks to its final three-dimensional structure, which determines its function.

By better predicting how proteins take their structure, or “fold,” scientists can more quickly develop drugs that, for example, block the action of crucial viral proteins.

Solving what biologists call “the protein-folding problem” is a big deal. Proteins are the workhorses of cells and are present in all living organisms. They are made up of long chains of amino acids and are vital for the structure of cells and communication between them as well as regulating all of the chemistry in the body.

This week, the Google-owned artificial intelligence company DeepMind demonstrated a deep-learning program called AlphaFold2, which