The Research Technology Office offers a variety of technology solutions and services to support scientific discovery and research at ASU. One such tool is AlphaFold, a powerful protein structure prediction application, winner of the biennial Critical Assessment of Techniques for Protein Structure Prediction (CASP) in both 2018 and 2020, and “the solution to a 50-year old grand challenge in biology – protein folding.”
AlphaFold employs artificial intelligence (AI) training on hundreds of thousands of experimentally determined structures to predict the shape of a protein with atomic-level accuracy. The ability to predict the shape of a protein has a significant scientific impact across a variety of disciplines. At the request of multiple research teams and after an initial pilot verified by research community volunteers, ASU’s advanced computing cluster now supports the latest release of AlphaFold.
Jeremy Wideman, Ph.D., from the Biodesign Institute’s Center for Mechanisms of Evolution and ASU’s School of Life Sciences, and his team member, high school student Savar Sinha, have used and demonstrated the robust capabilities that AlphaFold offer to predict protein structures. AlphaFold can also predict protein-protein interactions! A stretch of glycines (not shown) artificially placed in between monomers enables AlphaFold to predict multimeric structures. In the image provided by the Wideman lab, the team predicted the Fonticula alba ATP synthase c-ring using AlphaFold and visualized using PyMol.
The ASU research community is invited to use this new application. If you would like to access AlphaFold or if you are interested in learning more about what other tools and applications are available to support your work, please email [email protected].
Update as of April 2022: Our Research Engagement team recently organized an AlphaFold Affinity Group. Our Affinity Groups are intended to build a peer-to-peer mentoring community to exchange best practices and raise awareness about specific applications, tools, or resources to help researchers accelerate their time to discovery. If you are interested in joining the AlphaFold Affinity Group, please email [email protected].
Image description: Structure of Fonticula alba ATP synthase c-ring predicted using AlphaFold by Savar Sinha, high school student and member of the Wideman lab (evocellbio.com) in the Biodesign Center for Mechanisms of Evolution