The hive mind of a group of video game enthusiasts has solved a question about an AIDS-related enzyme that has long stumped virologists.
Players of the online game Foldit have helped discover the structure of an enzyme that had the scientific community stumped for a decade, representing a significant step forward in attempts to cure retroviral diseases like AIDS. The enzyme, a Mason-Pfizer monkey virus (MPMV) retroviral protease, was accurately modeled by Foldit players in just three weeks, and opens the door to development of antiretroviral drugs. Foldit makes use of players’ 3D puzzle-solving abilities and competitive nature to solve problems that computers alone have been unable to do. A report, published by the University Of Washington and crediting gamers as well as researchers, says the discovery “provides new insights for the design of antiretroviral drugs.”
Well done, geek heroes! Cheetos for everybody!