The protein folding problem: when will it be solved?

Ken A. Dill, Sefika Ozkan, Thomas R. Weikl, John D. Chodera, Vincent A. Voelz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

193 Scopus citations


The protein folding problem can be viewed as three different problems: defining the thermodynamic folding code; devising a good computational structure prediction algorithm; and answering Levinthal's question regarding the kinetic mechanism of how proteins can fold so quickly. Once regarded as a grand challenge, protein folding has seen much progress in recent years. Folding codes are now being used to successfully design proteins and non-biological foldable polymers; aided by the Critical Assessment of Techniques for Structure Prediction (CASP) competition, protein structure prediction has now become quite good. Even the once-challenging Levinthal puzzle now seems to have an answer - a protein can avoid searching irrelevant conformations and fold quickly by making local independent decisions first, followed by non-local global decisions later.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)342-346
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Opinion in Structural Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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