The Amazing World of Disordered Proteins
For more than a century, biologists have thought that the proteins carrying out functions like driving chemical reactions, passing signals up and down the cell’s information superhighway, or maybe hanging molecular tags onto DNA are like rigid cogs in the cell’s machinery.
But according to an article in Quanta Magazine recent studies estimate that up to half of the total amino acid sequence that makes up proteins in humans doesn’t fold into a distinct shape. This fluidity — dubbed “intrinsic disorder” — endows proteins with a set of superpowers that structured proteins don’t have.
“The key now is that we need to understand how these proteins are functioning in biology,” said Peter Wright, a structural biologist at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California.