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Curr Opin Struct Biol. 2012 Jun;22(3):378-85. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2012 Apr 3.

Motif switches: decision-making in cell regulation.

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Structural and Computational Biology Unit, European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Meyerhofstrasse 1, D-69117 Heidelberg, Germany.


Tight regulation of gene products from transcription to protein degradation is required for reliable and robust control of eukaryotic cell physiology. Many of the mechanisms directing cell regulation rely on proteins detecting the state of the cell through context-dependent, tuneable interactions. These interactions underlie the ability of proteins to make decisions by combining regulatory information encoded in a protein's expression level, localisation and modification state. This raises the question, how do proteins integrate available information to correctly make decisions? Over the past decade pioneering work on the nature and function of intrinsically disordered protein regions has revealed many elegant switching mechanisms that underlie cell signalling and regulation, prompting a reevaluation of their role in cooperative decision-making.

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