SUWA: A hyperstable artificial protein that does not denature in high temperatures above 100C

Proteins denature, or "cook" in heat, irreversibly changing their structure, like how an egg boils or a slab of sirloin turns to steak. This prevents proteins from being used in applications where they would need to withstand heat. Scientists have had high expectations for proteins to be used in nanotechnology and synthetic biology. A new hyperstable artificial protein constructed at Shinshu University in collaboration with Princeton University hopes to make some of those aspirations possible with the successful development of SUWA (Super WA20), a nanobuilding block in the shape of a pillar, so-called in honor of the Onbashira Matsuri, also known as "the pillar" festival where men climb on and slide down a mountain side on large timber logs, a holy tradition dating back 1,200 years. The lumber is then used to build one of the main shrines of Japan, the Suwa Taisha. The hope is that these SUWA nano-pillars will go on to build things just as central to society.