Translating proteins into music, and back

Artist’s impression depicts the conversion of the structure of a protein m

Artist’s impression depicts the conversion of the structure of a protein molecule into a musical passage, as is done in the MIT researchers’ system. Image: Christine Daniloff, MIT

By turning molecular structures into sounds, researchers gain insight into protein structures and create new variations.

Diana Cai writes for STAT about Prof. Markus Buehler’s new research to turn amino acids into music. "Buehler thinks the technology could help in understanding genetic diseases caused by misfolded proteins," writes Cai, noting that, "AI may conceivably ’hear’ patterns of misfolding that could distinguish dangerous mutations from harmless ones."

In a new study, Prof. Marcus Buehler converted 20 types of amino acids into a 20-tone scale to create musical compositions. "Those altered compositions were converted back into a conceptual amino acid chain, which enabled the team to generate variations of proteins that have never been seen in nature," writes Becky Ferreira for Motherboard.


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