This project involes the simulation of the folding pathways of the small knottin protein EETI.
The Cochran group at Stanford recently engineered EETI such that it attachs to integrins on the surface of cancer cells. This allows these scientists to label the EETI with some kind of reporter - such as a PET probe - that makes any cancer in the body light up in an imaging scan. While this doesn't directly attack the cancer, the hope is it will tell doctors exactly where that cancerous tissue is hiding out so they can be smart about tacking it.
Furthermore, the hope is that knottins can be used to bind to other things, either as imaging agents or drugs. They could possibly be a versatile platform for all kinds of scientific and medical applications due to their strange structure. P7600 is an attempt to understand the dynamics that these proteins exhibit, with the hope that this information can help with future engineering ventures.
Furthermore, knottins, as their name might imply, fold with an actual *knot* in their backbone, which is what makes them so specail structurally. How this happens, and why it is so necessary for the protein's function, is another simply cool aspect of the science we hope to help unravel!
List of Contributors
This project is managed by TJ Lane at lab of Vijay Pande at Stanford University.
TJ Lane has been a grad student in the Pande lab since 2010. His research focuses on applying Markov models to understand the kinetics that determine how proteins fold. He is interested in what these models, parameterized from data from Folding@home, can tell us about how proteins fold on timescales much faster than what would be expected from naive physics (Levinthal Paradox).
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