Peter Güntert talks with
ScienceWatch.com and answers a few questions about
this month's Emerging Research Front Paper in the field of
Article: Protein NMR structure determination with
automated NOE assignment using the new software CANDID and
the torsion angle dynamics algorithm DYANA
Journal: J MOL BIOL, 319 (1): 209-227 MAY 24 2002
Addresses: RIKEN, Genom Sci Ctr, 1-7-22 Suehiro, Yokohama,
Kanagawa 2300045, Japan.
ETH Zurich, Inst Mol Biol & Biophys, CH-8093 Zurich,
Why do you think your paper is highly
The computational tools presented in this paper have become a
quasi-standard for protein structure analysis by NMR (nuclear magnetic
resonance) spectroscopy, which is widely used in structural biology and
Does it describe a new discovery, methodology, or
synthesis of knowledge?
This paper introduced a method that greatly improves the efficiency of
protein structure determination by NMR.
Would you summarize the significance of your paper in
"This paper marks a
breakthrough in automating the analysis of NMR
Thanks to the research described in this paper and other innovations it has
become possible to determine the spatial structure of thousands of proteins
with unprecedented speed, thus extending our knowledge about life at the
How did you become involved in this research and were
any particular problems encountered along the way?
I became involved in biomolecular NMR in the research group of Nobel
Laureate Kurt Wüthrich at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
(ETH) in Zurich, Switzerland, where I worked on applying computational
methods in conjunction with NMR measurements to questions in structural
biology. This paper marks a breakthrough in automating the analysis of NMR
spectra that was preceded by a series of trials, failed attempts, and small
incremental improvements until two new ideas, described in the paper,
opened the way to success.
Where do you see your research leading in the
We hope to extend protein structure analysis by NMR to larger proteins,
protein complexes, membrane-bound proteins, and proteins measured directly
in living cells, as well as to achieve the complete automation of NMR
protein structure determination.
Do you foresee any social or political implications for
Understanding proteins and their role in living organisms contributes to
our basic knowledge of life and helps in the development of drugs that can
improve the quality of human life.
Prof. Dr. Peter Güntert
Institute of Biophysical Chemistry and Frankfurt Institute for Advanced
Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Keywords: NMR protein structure analysis, NMR
spectra, protein complexes, membrane-bound proteins, NMR measurements,
structural biology, CANDID software, DYANA, Kurt Wüthrich.