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Structural disorder of proteins in vitro and in vivo

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Intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs/IUPs) exist and function without a well-defined 3D structure, defying the classical structure-function paradigm [1]. Structural disorder is widespread in eukaryotic proteomes and correlates with important functions such as signal transduction and transcription regulation. Whereas currently increasing effort is focused on these proteins, most of our concepts regarding their structure and function stem from in vitro data. In my talk I will briefly overview the field of structural disorder, with a major focus on the special functional modes it enables, and also touch upon evidence for their existence in vivo. I will show how bioinformatics tools can be used to address important issues with respect to their physiological existence, function and regulation. Overall, the message of my talk is that despite much controversy about the physiological importance of these proteins, the evidence is overwhelming that their unusual structural state is a highly evolved feature enabling exciting biology in the cell.

1. Tompa, P. (2009) Structure and Function of Intrinsically Disordered Proteins. CRC Press

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