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Chem Biol. 2006 Jan;13(1):11-21.

Conditional control of protein function.

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Department of Chemistry, Stanford University, California 94305, USA.


Deciphering the myriad ways in which proteins interact with each other to give rise to complex behaviors that define living systems is a significant challenge. Using perturbations of DNA, genetic analyses have provided many insights into the functions of proteins encoded by specific genes. However, it can be difficult to study essential genes using these approaches, and many biological processes occur on a fast timescale that precludes study using genetic methods. For these reasons and others, it is often desirable to target proteins directly rather than the genes that encode them. Over the past 20 years, several methods to regulate protein function have been developed. In this review, we discuss the genesis and use of these methods, with particular emphasis on the elements of specificity, speed, and reversibility.

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