Inferring the Rate-Length Law of Protein Folding

Guest post from Dr. Gregory Bowman, University of California, Berkeley

One objective of the Folding@home project is to provide
insight into general protein folding mechanisms that hold across a variety of
systems.  For example, how much slower,
on average, do longer proteins take to fold than shorter ones?  To address questions like this, Lane and
Pande recently developed a theoretical framework for testing different models
of the scaling of protein folding times with chain length against experimental
observations (line here).  One of their major
conclusions is that there is insufficient data to distinguish between many of
the possible models.  All is not lost
though.  The framework they developed
also allows them to point out the types of measurements that need to be made to
conclusively determine which of the models that have been proposed is
best.  In the future, it will be exciting
to begin both computational and experimental studies of these systems.