Predicting protein structure, episode 1

Protein structure prediction is hard, but AlphaFold, 'an AI' has tackled this big problem. Janet Thornton from the European Bioinformatics Institute and David Jones of University College London look forward, backward and all around on this subject.

Proteins are twirly, curly, dynamic structures. Crucial for life, complicated to study. Predicting protein structure has been tough but it's now easier as AlphaFold enters the scene. That doesn't mean that AlphaFold has solved all challenges, of course. AlphaFold was developed by DeepMind Technologies, a company that was bought by Google in 2014. Lots of protein puzzles remain. Dr. Janet Thornton from the European Bioinformatics Institute and Dr David Jones of University College London talk about what AlphaFold can do and what it cannot yet do. They look forward, backward and all around on this subject. He says, laughing, he has "extreme cautious optimism" about the prospects of this field. You can also find my feature story about protein structure prediction, which is the Nature Methods method of the year for 2021, here: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41592-021-01359-1