TANPAKU is taken from the japanese word tanpaku-shitsu, meaning protein. TANPAKU is a project that is aiming at attacking the protein structure prediction problem by using volunteer computing.TANPAKU project URL; http://issofty17.is.noda.tus.ac.jp/
This project is developed in collaboration with Yamato lab.(in the Department of Biological Science and Technology) and Takeda lab.(in the Department of Information Sciences) groups at Tokyo University of Science. Now, the project finished a preliminary test within our university and it is open for public volunteers.
What is protein structure prediction?
Proteins play leading roles and are an essential part of our everyday life. For example, amylase digests starch to generate energy, hemoglobin transports oxygen around the body and insulin controls the amount of sugar absorbed from the blood.
Protein, amino acid and DNA
The basic units of protein are 20 kinds of amino acids. Proteins are long non-branched polymers composed of linked hundreds of amino acids, where the peptide bonds are formed between the carboxyl group of one amino acid and amino group of another amino acid with the release of one water molecule. The order of its amino acids or sequence determines the properties of the protein.
On the other hand, the DNA base sequence of a gene provides the amino acid sequence information of the protein it encodes. Therefore, gene is a blueprint to make a protein and genome, the complete set of genes in a living organism, is a blueprint of our body as a whole. Because genomic information provides us a lot of clues for solving secrets of life, hundreds of genome sequencing projects of many species are performed around the world. Today, the human genome has been also deciphered!
The relationship between protein structure and function
|Barnase. by T. Ando|
Protein folds into its unique three-dimensional structure corresponding to its amino acid sequence and then works in our body. In other words, there is a deep relationship between structure of a protein and its function. Therefore, if we can predict a protein structure from its amino acid sequence, this structural information provides very useful information for deducing its protein function.
However, we don't have the method that predicts the folded structure of a protein from its amino acid sequence alone.
Protein structure prediction by computer simulation
|Folding simulation of a helical peptide|
using Brownian dynamics method. by T. Ando
Under this situation, researchers have proposed various methods to overcome this difficulty. In our laboratory, "Brownian Dynamics (BD) method" that is based on the simulation of Brownian motion has been developed, giving some successful results up to now. This BD method enables us to simulate long time with less computational time compared with conventional simulation methods.
However, toward the final goal of predicting a protein structure from its amino acid sequence, more computational power is required. In order to achieve this requirement, we are improving computational algorithm and also we have paid attention to simulating BD on a more powerful computational resource.
So, we launch the "TANPAKU" project on the distributed computing.
|Molecular dynamics simulation of F1-ATPase. by O. Umezu|
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