Re: *sox18* in the bag

From: John Clark (
Date: Tue Mar 28 2000 - 11:21:46 MST

<> Wrote:

>since the protein folding problem is not understood,
> the gene's sequence gives only a very rough idea of the shape of the
> protein it codes for.

Yes but if you know the sequence then you can make it in bulk and if you
can do that then usually you can crystallize it and if you can do that then
usually you can find its shape with X ray diffraction or NMR. Using modern
methods the total cost to find the shape of your average protein is about $100,000,
20 years ago it would have cost many millions and the entire working lifetime of
a Nobel level scientist. But with about 80,000 protein in the body that's still too
expensive, and sometimes things are more difficult. The proteins in the cell wall
are much more difficult to crystallize and unfortunately they're the ones we want most,
they tend to be the most obvious targets for therapy. I don't how hard sox18 will be
to crystallize.

High on any to do list for the next century must be figuring out how proteins fold
from first principles, or at least finding a cheap way crystallize any protein, even
those in the cell wall.

      John K Clark

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