The most important jigsaw puzzle right now is how the CoV-2 spike, a 3 part structure, attaches to the human ACE2 protein through which it enters the cells of our bodies. That is the microscopic gap in our defenses.
When we understand that, we can figure out how to stop this pandemic. Right at the source.
A more detailed animation of the spike/receptor interaction
FoldIt (https://fold.it), the citizen science crowdsourcing protein folding site which has been around for over a decade, is currently hosting a series of CoV-2 protein folding puzzles.
Here’s their latest report
Another way to approach the Coronavirus may be through sound. There are sonic representations of the Coronavirus spike made by Markus Buehler and his team at MIT (http://news.mit.edu/2020/qa-markus-buehler-setting-coronavirus-and-ai-inspired-proteins-to-music-0402). They translated the 20 amino acids that make up protein chains into tones based upon their spectra. They used duration and volume to indicate other features like curvature into helices and stretching out into flatness (A Self-Consistent Sonification Method to Translate Amino Acid Sequences into Musical Compositions and Application in Protein Design Using Artificial Intelligence https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acsnano.9b02180).
The Sonification of the Coronavirus Spike Protein (Amino Acid Scale) is about 35 minutes long
The Viral Counterpoint of the Coronavirus Spike Protein (2019-nCoV)
(https://soundcloud.com/user-275864738/viral-counterpoint-of-the-coronavirus-spike-protein-2019-ncov) is about an hour and 50 minutes long and has three distinct movements, probably one for each strand of the spike.
The music, as presented by the MIT project, is engaging and sounds like some minimalist pieces from human composers, like Terry Riley, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, many others.
I’ve listened to the music of the Coronavirus spike and played along with parts of it wondering if jamming with the virus could jam the virus or whether noise cancelling algorithms could cancel the CoV-2 spike, that is if the MIT amino acid to sound notation can go back from sound to amino acid.
Just an idle thought during quarantine. Yet.
Would be good if we would focus more attention on this critical point, where virus meets human cell, in a whole species conversation because we just might need a whole species conversation right now, and not just about COVID19. Certainly, we have more than one whole species threat.