Gamers crack retrovirus (ie: HIV) enzyme

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Gamers crack retrovirus (ie: HIV) enzyme

Online gamers crack AIDS enzyme puzzle
September 19, 2011 - 3:27PM

Online gamers have achieved a feat beyond the realm of Second Lifeor Dungeons and Dragons: they have deciphered the structure of an enzyme of an AIDS-like virus that had thwarted scientists for a decade.The exploit was published on Sunday in the journal Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, where - exceptionally in scientific publishing - both gamers and researchers are honoured as co-authors.Their target was a monomeric protease enzyme, a cutting agent in the complex molecular tailoring of retroviruses, a family that includes HIV. Figuring out the structure of proteins is vital for understanding the causes of many diseases and developing drugs to block them.

To the astonishment of the scientists, the gamers produced an accurate model of the enzyme in just three weeks.

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