Can mathematics help to explain the spatial structure and the functionality of proteins?

The prediction of the spatial structure of proteins in biochemistry produces reasonable results if proteins with similar sequence and structure are already known. Using the method of "homology modeling" allows to map the new sequence onto the sequence whose structure is known and thereby to fit it into the structure. The prediction is more difficult if there is no comparable amino acid sequence available. Calculating the energetically most efficient conformation is not possible due to the huge number of possibilities. There has been enormous progress in bioinformatics during the last years and different methods for structure prediction have been developed. However, up to now there is no reliable method for structure recognition of proteins available.

In this project we intend to use recently discovered knowledge about the occurrence of so-called circular codes in the genetic constitution in order to better understand the evolution of spatial structure of proteins. Besides extensive statistical and theoretical investigations the aim is to develop a software tool that visualizes and interprets the achieved results.

The project is liberally funded by the Karl-Völker Stiftung for two years (October 2014 to November 2016) with a volume of 60000 Euro. Besides Professors Fimmel and Strüngmann, a former student of our University of Applied Science, Mr. Kristian Kraljic will contribute to the project and will be mainly responsible for the development of the software tool "Genetic Coe Analyzer".