Unlocking the Mystery of Complex Protein Knots: Scientists Use AlphaFold AI to Identify Most Complex Knot Yet

Scientists have identified the most complex protein knots

Scientists from Germany and the US predicted the topologically most complex knot in a protein by using AlphaFold. This artificial intelligence system was developed by Google DeepMind. The scientists’ complete analysis of AlphaFold data revealed the first composite protein knots: topological structures that contain two separate knots along the same string. If AlphaFold’s predictions are confirmed, the newly discovered protein knots will be used to test their accuracy.

The folding of proteins can create complex topological structures. These include protein knots, which are shapes that cannot be disentangled if pulled from either end. Peter Virnau is a theoretical physicist from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. He told Physics World there are around 20-30 knotted proteins. These structures, Virnau explains raises interesting questions about how they fold and their existence.

The shape of a protein is closely related to its function. However, there are few hard facts that support the theories about their functionality. Virnau believes that the knots may help keep proteins stable by being resistant to thermal fluctuations. However, these questions are still open. Although protein knots may be rare, evolution has preserved them well.


Physicists identify most complex protein knots