UW researchers were most successful at predicting the three-dimensional structure of a folded protein from a linear sequence of amino acids in a Critical Assessment of Techniques for Protein Structure Prediction (CASP) experiment. The goals of CASP experiments, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, are to set the standard for, and direction of, protein structure prediction.
David Baker, associate professor of biochemistry and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, and colleagues successfully predicted the structure using a computer algorithm called Rosetta. More than 100 research groups submitted possible three-dimensional structures for the 40 candidate proteins. The predictions from Baker's group were unprecedented in quality.
CASP4 began in April 2000 and ran through August 2000. The results were discussed at a conference in Asilomar, Calif. in December. Three previous CASP experiments were held in 1994, 1996 and 1998.