image copyright Karen Arnott image caption Only a fraction of the proteins made by the human genome have confirmed structures
Artificial intelligence has has been used to predict the structures of almost all proteins made by the human body.
Proteins are essential building blocks of living organisms; every cell we have in us is filled with them.
Understanding protein structures is essential for advancing medicine, myis so far only a fraction of these have been developed.
Researchers used a program to predict 350,000 protein structures belonging to humans and other organisms .
The instructions for making human proteins are contained in our genomes - the DNA contained in the nuclei of human cells.
There are approximately 20,000 of these proteins expressed by the human genome. Collectively, biologists call this complete complement the "proteome ".
The AI program used for the work is called AlphaFold. He was able to make a reliable prediction of the structural positions of 58% of amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) in the human proteome.
From this, the positions of 35.7% were predicted with a very high degree of confidence, which is double the number of structures confirmed by experience.
"We believe it 's the most complete and accurate picture of the human proteometo date, ”said Demis Hassabis, CEO and co-founder of Deep Mind.
" We believe that this work represents the most important contribution AI has made to advancing the state of scientific knowledge to date.
"And I think that's a great illustration and a example of the kind of benefits AI can bring to society. "
image copyright image caption Research could lead to enzymes capable to decompose the plastic polluting our environment
In the prestigious scientific journal Nature , DeepMind researchers detailed how AlphaFold predicted the structures of 350,000 different proteins, including not only the 20,000 of the human proteome, but those of so-called model organisms used in scientific research, such as E., yeast, fly and mouse.
The structure arrangement of different Proteins can be made using
Therefore, structures are often determined through targeted scientific investigations, but no project Successful so far has not undertaken to systematically determine structures for all proteins made by the body.
In fact, only 17% of the proteome is covered by an experimentally confirmed structure.
Commenting on AlphaFold's predictions, Professor McGeehan said: "It's just speed - the fact that it took us six months per structure and now it takes a few minutes. We don 't could not have really predicted that it would happen so quickly. "
Prof Edith Heard, from th The European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) said:“ We at EMBL believe this will transform our understanding of how life works. This is because the proteinsrepresent the fundamental building blocks from which living organisms are made. "
" Applications are limited only by our understanding. "
Applications we can considering now include the development of new drugs and treatments for disease, the design of future crops capable of withstanding climate change, or of enzymes capable of breaking down the plastic that permeates the environment.
DeepMind has partnered with EMBL to make AlphaFold code and protein structure predictions available to the global scientific community. Ommunity.
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