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SuperStruct

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Solve structure of protein assemblies to better understand biological function

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Citizen ScienceBiologyEducationHealth & Medicinestructural biologyproteinsprotein complexes
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SuperStruct was designed in the Taylor Lab (headed by Dr. David Taylor at the University of Texas at Austin) to help assemble protein puzzle pieces together after realizing the sheer volume of puzzles (or structures) being solved using his innovative approach to gather them. After acquiring a large number of structures of protein complexes within a cell, there is so much computer power required to put together all of the protein pieces.

This is where you can help.

Our data provide an envelope for the shape for all of the pieces to be assembled into, but we need your help to figure out how all of the pieces fit together. The importance of this problem cannot be overestimated. As we have seen from the coronavirus pandemic, understanding the structure of the spike protein of the virus has led to a groundbreaking vaccine.

The SuperStruct app crowdsources “solving” of the arrangement of various proteins using distance and shape clues as a guide. The solutions can then be used by the Taylor Lab and other scientific collaborators to study important biological processes. Features of the app include tutorials for understanding the puzzle pieces and information for assembling them, explanations of the biological significance of these protein complexes for classroom use (including modules with puzzles involved in COVID disease), leaderboards for challenging players, and a monthly challenge. Each month one of the puzzles will be selected for experimental validation in the Taylor Lab.

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Ticket Required: No

Minimum Age: 13

Languages: English

Provided to SNM by
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