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Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2002 Jan;3(1):50-60.

Stress, order and survival.

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Department of Organic Chemistry, The Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel.


Much of the sophisticated chemistry of life is accomplished by multicomponent complexes, which act as molecular machines. Intrinsic to their accuracy and efficiency is the energy that is supplied by hydrolysis of nucleoside triphosphates. Conditions that deplete energy sources should therefore cause decay and death. But studies on organisms that are exposed to prolonged stress indicate that this fate could be circumvented through the formation of highly ordered intracellular assemblies. In these thermodynamically stable structures, vital components are protected by a physical sequestration that is independent of energy consumption.

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