The sequence of amino acids in certain biomolecules could be a factor in ensuring that they remain free of knots.
Knots are abundant in globular homopolymers but rare in globular proteins. To shed new light on this long-standing conundrum, we study the influence of sequence on the formation of knots in proteins under native conditions within the framework of the hydrophobic-polar lattice protein model. By employing large-scale Wang-Landau simulations combined with suitable Monte Carlo trial moves we show that even though knots are still abundant on average, sequence introduces large variability in the degree of self-entanglements. Moreover, we are able to design sequences which are either almost always or almost never knotted. Our findings serve as proof of concept that the introduction of just one additional degree of freedom per monomer (in our case sequence) facilitates evolution towards a protein universe in which knots are rare.