Artificial Intelligence company Deepmind has announced that its open-source database has now expanded to more than 200 million structures.
The AlphaFold Protein Structure Database, which started out with just one million protein structures, now covers almost every organism on Earth that has had its genome sequenced.
Demis Hassabis, founder and CEO of DeepMind, said: “We’ve been amazed by the rate at which AlphaFold has already become an essential tool for hundreds of thousands of scientists in labs and universities across the world."
“From fighting disease to tackling plastic pollution, AlphaFold has already enabled incredible impact on some of our biggest global challenges. Our hope is that this expanded database will aid countless more scientists in their important work and open up completely new avenues of scientific discovery.’
It is thought the database will make a huge difference in research into disease treatments, vaccines, sustainability, antibiotic resistance and even plastic pollution.
Research on a protein called Pfs48/45 is currently underway by scientists from the University of Oxford and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. This protein is a promising candidate for inclusion in a transmission-blocking malaria vaccine. However, until now, scientists had not been able to fully understand the structure.
Matthew Higgins, professor of Molecular Parasitology and co-author of that study, said: “By combining AlphaFold models with our experimental information from crystallography, we could reveal the structure of Pfs48/45, understand its dynamics and show where transmission-blocking antibodies bind. This insight will now be used to design improved vaccines which induce the most potent transmission-blocking antibodies.”