Nanotech Building Blocks

Utterly fascinating, a generalised approach to building proteins.  This quote caught my attention:

… Baker’s proteins are in a sense “platonic ideals”, he says: simple backbone constructs with every amino acid optimized to fold into the prescribed, stable structure. In this way they differ from natural proteins, whose folded structures represent a compromise between the competing requirements of optimum folding and biological function, leading to “frustrated” parts of the sequence that may be essential for function but are destabilizing to the fold. As evidence of their stability, the designed proteins melt at about 100 °C, Koga says, compared to 40–50 °C for a natural protein. …

There is a bit of arrogance in that comment. Think how long Homo Sapiens has been on the planet. Nature is highly resilient to shock and change. Typically when something exists in nature it is a balance between optimization and resilience, tuned to survive in a dynamic environment.


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