CAVER helps with computer-assisted drug development
A collaboration between the Faculty of Science and Faculty of Informatics led to the development of CAVER, a software tool for the computer-assisted analysis of protein structures which estimates the reactivity of a selected protein with other molecules prior to the launch of lengthy and costly lab experiments.
Real-world use in biomedicine, cosmetics and agriculture
The CAVER project, created thanks to an interdisciplinary collaboration at MU, includes two software tools. The CAVER application is used to analyse protein structures while the CAVER Analyst tool is used to visualize and explore detected tunnels.
Both tools are used by research teams worldwide, primarily in areas such as protein engineering and drug development, though industries such as cosmetics, agriculture and transportation have also expressed interest.
The fundamental benefit of CAVER is its ability to analyse the internal structure of a protein and estimate its reactivity with other molecules prior to the launch of lengthy and costly lab experiments.
The basic principles utilized by CAVER were previously used at Loschmidt Laboratories in connection with the discovery of an enzyme for the decomposition of mustard gas, a procedure which was subsequently patented. The CAVER tool itself is used e.g. for protein stabilization, likewise a patented methodology.
International support and global utilization
The CAVER project is now supported in part by the ELIXIR international research programme. The development of the CAVER Analyst tool took place in collaboration with the Vienna University of Technology and the University of Bergen. The CAVER application has been cited by key journals in the field, including Nature, Science, PNAS, The Journal of Biological Chemistry, etc.
CAVER Analyst also integrates newly developed methodologies for tunnel visualization, published by the Computer Graphics Forum, Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics and Bioinformatics in 2015.