(EurekaAlert) Great strides have been made in recent decades in the study of processes involving structural changes in proteins, using computer simulations. Now, quantum computers are a powerful tool for carrying out even more precise and complete observations, as demonstrated by the study conducted by a group of physicists of the University of Trento.
“For the first time, we demonstrate that quantum computers can be used to understand at near atomic detail the functioning of biomolecules”, explains Pietro Faccioli, author of the scientific article together with colleague Philipp Hauke and student Giovanni Mattiotti. Using this technology, the researchers of the Physics Department of the University of Trento have developed a method to compute changes in protein shape and trajectory. A breakthrough that has implications for molecular biology, pharmacology and nanotechnologies.
The fields of application are many. Identifying the mechanisms behind neurodegenerative processes in some proteins, for example, can help limit their proliferation. Understanding how a protein takes on a certain shape can open the way to use the nanomachines that nature has designed to cut, edit or block damaged or defective genes.