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Trends Biochem Sci. 2008 Sep;33(9):420-5. doi: 10.1016/j.tibs.2008.05.009. Epub 2008 Aug 15.

Allostery: an illustrated definition for the 'second secret of life'.

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1
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, The University of Kansas Medical Center, 3901 Rainbow Boulevard, Kansas City, KS 66160, USA. afenton@kumc.edu

Abstract

Although allosteric regulation is the 'second secret of life', the molecular mechanisms that give rise to allostery currently elude understanding. In my opinion, experimental progress is hampered by a commonly used but misleading definition of allostery as protein structural changes that are elicited by the binding of a single ligand. Allostery is more strictly defined in functional terms as a comparison of how one ligand binds in the absence, versus the presence, of a second ligand. Therefore, as each of the two binding events involves two protein complexes, a study of allostery must consider four complexes and not just two. Such a comparison can distinguish allosteric from non-allosteric protein changes, the importance of which is frequently overlooked. When a study of all four complexes is not feasible, an alternative, albeit limited, strategy can identify subsets of allosteric-specific changes.

PMID:
18706817
PMCID:
PMC2574622
DOI:
10.1016/j.tibs.2008.05.009
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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