A previously developed computer program for protein design, RosettaDesign, was used to predict low free energy sequences for nine naturally occurring protein backbones. RosettaDesign had no knowledge of the naturally occurring sequences and on average 65% of the residues in the designed sequences differ from wild-type. Synthetic genes for ten completely redesigned proteins were generated, and the proteins were expressed, purified, and then characterized using circular dichroism, chemical and temperature denaturation and NMR experiments. Although high-resolution structures have not yet been determined, eight of these proteins appear to be folded and their circular dichroism spectra are similar to those of their wild-type counterparts. Six of the proteins have stabilities equal to or up to 7kcal/mol greater than their wild-type counterparts, and four of the proteins have NMR spectra consistent with a well-packed, rigid structure. These encouraging results indicate that the computational protein design methods can, with significant reliability, identify amino acid sequences compatible with a target protein backbone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)449-460
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 12 2003


  • Computational protein design
  • Protein engineering
  • Protein stability
  • Protein thermodynamics


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