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Symmetry Puzzles

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Irc 202811 1322780540 S2 CH Granier

A Symmetric Dimer puzzle.


Symmetry puzzles have one or more copies of a particular protein, that can interact with the protein itself. Everytime the coloured copy (or independent unit) of the protein is manipulated, the grey copies of the protein change in exactly the same way. While the copies can be thought of as mirror images, each copy of the protein can fold around and through each other.

The objective of Symmetry puzzles is to find the best way of folding the coloured copy of the protein, so that it binds together well with its grey copies.

There are currently 3 different types of Symmetry puzzles available in Foldit:

  • Symmetric Dimer
A symmetry puzzle with only one copy.
Irc 202811 1322780540 S2 CH Granier

A Symmetric Dimer puzzle.

  • Symmetric Trimer
A symmetry puzzle with two copies, for a total of three units.
Foldit 1323441184

A Symmetric Trimer puzzle.

  • Symmetric Dimer of Dimers
A symmetry puzzle with three copies, for a total of four units.
Foldit 1323441653

A Symmetric Dimer of Dimers puzzle.


Usually taking the shape of a helix. They can be contorted into many different shapes.

We will investigate the theoretical structures of the basic helix and how they interact.

When a helix forms it likes to twist into a right hand twist. A helix with a left hand twist is not a happy helix. When joined together freely into a bundle they will all twist together with a slight left hand twist. This is the same in the making of ropes and twine. This slight counter twist helps the strand hold together and not unravel. Now there can be exceptions, like being restrained by the loops on the ends, that may force the helix to deflect.

Being constructed of helices, it is best to keep them fairly straight and close together. If they become knotted or move far apart it is probably not a good thing.

Tweeking is important in getting the helix aligned properly. Orange in blue out.

Followed by lots of wiggles, shakes, and mutate.

Puzzle HistoryEdit

Design puzzles and progress update

More Fun with Catalysts

Symmetric Design Results and Guidelines

The Baker Lab tests Foldit player-designed proteins

The Baker Lab tests Foldit player-designed proteinsEdit

External Links - Oligomers - Protein Dimers - Protein Trimers - Protein Tetramers

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