De novo protein design: how do we expand into the universe of possible protein structures?

Derek N Woolfson*, Gail J Bartlett, Antony J Burton, Jack W Heal, Ai Niitsu, Andrew R Thomson, Chris W Wood

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

132 Citations (Scopus)
538 Downloads (Pure)


Protein scientists are paving the way to a new phase in protein design and engineering. Approaches and methods are being developed that could allow the design of proteins beyond the confines of natural protein structures. This possibility of designing entirely new proteins opens new questions: What do we build? How do we build into protein-structure space where there are few, if any, natural structures to guide us? To what uses can the resulting proteins be put? And, what, if anything, does this pursuit tell us about how natural proteins fold, function and evolve? We describe the origins of this emerging area of fully de novo protein design, how it could be developed, where it might lead, and what challenges lie ahead.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-26
Number of pages11
JournalCurrent Opinion in Structural Biology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2015

Structured keywords

  • Bristol BioDesign Institute
  • BrisSynBio
  • BCS and TECS CDTs


  • synthetic biology


Dive into the research topics of 'De novo protein design: how do we expand into the universe of possible protein structures?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this