Have a protein you want inhibited? New software can design a blocker

Image of a complex arrangement of colored ribbons.
Enlarge / The three-dimensional structures of proteins provide many opportunities for specific interactions.

Thanks in part to the large range of shapes they can adopt and the chemical environments those shapes create, proteins can perform an amazing number of functions. But there are many proteins we wish didn’t function quite so well, like the proteins on the surfaces of viruses that let them latch on to new cells or the damaged proteins that cause cancer cells to grow uncontrollably.

Ideally, we’d like to block the key sites on these proteins, limiting their ability to do harm. We’ve seen some progress