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Nat Chem Biol. 2014 Nov;10(11):884-91. doi: 10.1038/nchembio.1670.

Energy landscapes of functional proteins are inherently risky.

Author information

1
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, Massachusetts, USA.
2
1] Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, Massachusetts, USA. [2] Department of Chemistry, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, Massachusetts, USA.
3
Department of Clinical Neurosciences, King's College London, Denmark Hill Campus, London, UK.
4
Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology, School of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK.

Abstract

Evolutionary pressure for protein function leads to unavoidable sampling of conformational states that are at risk of misfolding and aggregation. The resulting tension between functional requirements and the risk of misfolding and/or aggregation in the evolution of proteins is becoming more and more apparent. One outcome of this tension is sensitivity to mutation, in which only subtle changes in sequence that may be functionally advantageous can tip the delicate balance toward protein aggregation. Similarly, increasing the concentration of aggregation-prone species by reducing the ability to control protein levels or compromising protein folding capacity engenders increased risk of aggregation and disease. In this Perspective, we describe examples that epitomize the tension between protein functional energy landscapes and aggregation risk. Each case illustrates how the energy landscapes for the at-risk proteins are sculpted to enable them to perform their functions and how the risks of aggregation are minimized under cellular conditions using a variety of compensatory mechanisms.

PMID:
25325699
PMCID:
PMC4416114
DOI:
10.1038/nchembio.1670
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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