Fysik och proteiner

Tidsperiod: 2014-01-01 till 2016-12-31

Projektledare: Antti Niemi

Finansiär: Vetenskapsrådet

Bidragstyp: Projektbidrag

Budget: 2 700 000 SEK

Proteins are the workhorses of all living cells, they participate in all metabolic activities. The biological function of a protein is intimately linked to its shape, and the protein folding problem addresses the origin of life itself. Many diseases from various sorts of dementia to diverse forms of cancer are presumed to have their origin in misfolded proteins. A theoretical model that accurately describes the structure and dynamics of proteins would be a true scientific breakthrough with groundbreaking impact on biology, pharmacy and health sciences, with huge benefits to the society by paving ways to cure many tormenting diseases. Our goal is to understand and describe the principles that determine the three dimensional shape of biologically active proteins, at unforeseen precision. For this we merge together sophisticated concepts of modern mathematical and theoretical physics including integrable spin chains, quantum fields and string theory with frontline knowledge of biophysical chemistry. The objective is to develop a computationally effective and conceptually clear approach that not only accurately models folded proteins and the dynamics of protein folding, but also explains the underlying self-organizing principles. Our ambition is the ultimate limit of precision that can be attained in X-ray based crystallography. We aim to a theoretical framework that describes proteins within distance scales on the verge of ten pico-meters.