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J Proteome Res. 2006 Aug;5(8):1996-2000.

Prevalent structural disorder in E. coli and S. cerevisiae proteomes.

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Institute of Enzymology, Biological Research Center, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary.


Intrinsically unstructured proteins, which exist without a well-defined 3D structure, carry out essential functions and occur with high frequency, as predicted for genomes. The generality of this phenomenon, however, is questioned by the uncertainty of what fraction of genomes actually encodes for expressed proteins. Here, we used two independent bioinformatic predictors, PONDR VSL1, and IUPred, to demonstrate that disorder prevails in the recently characterized proteomes and essential proteins of E. coli and S. cerevisiae, at levels exceeding that estimated from the genomes. The S. cerevisiae proteome contains three times as much disorder as that of E. coli, with 50-60% of proteins containing at least one long (>30 residues) disordered segment. This evolutionary advance can be explained by the observation that disorder is much higher in Gene Ontology categories related to regulatory, as opposed to metabolic, functions, and also in categories unique to yeast. Thus, protein disorder is a widespread and functionally important phenomenon, which needs to be characterized in full detail for understanding complex organisms at the molecular level.

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