This year the Nobel Prize is split, with one half going to Frances Arnold (Caltech) and the other half jointly to George P. Smith (University of Missouri, Columbia) and Sir Gregory Winter (MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge). Arnold's prize is for 'the directed evolution of enzymes', whilst Smith and Winter's award is for 'the phage display of peptides and antibodies'.
Some of the more recent work by Frances Arnold, cited in the supporting background report for the Nobel Prize award, makes use of crystal structures of enzyme proteins, determined using software from the Collaborative Computational Project 4 (CCP4) suite - for example, protein data bank entry 5DW3. The work is important for understanding how enzymes can be mutated to fulfill many useful tasks in the manufacturing industries, medical science and biofuel development, often replacing environmentally hazardous procedures used prior to the development.
(image credit: Caltech)
One of the references (no.47) used in the Nobel Prize background report is a leading paper on recent work conducted by Frances Arnold at Caltech in California, making use of X-ray crystallographic studies. The paper cites the use of CCP4 and several of the applications within it. It also references a paper in which CCP4 Project lead, Martyn Winn, was the lead author.
Ronan Keegan, one of the CCP4 core team of software developers, said, " We have been actively promoting the CCP4 software in the USA through our educational outreach programme, staging an annual summer school in Chicago. It's great to see researchers based there using CCP4 for this ground breaking research."
These are good examples of how the CCP4 project, which is part of CoSeC, funded by BBSRC and supported by STFC, is making possible high impact science across a broad range of fields, both in academic research and in industrial innovation.