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J Biomol Struct Dyn. 1986 Aug;4(1):137-56.

Protein structure and neutral theory of evolution.

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Institute of Protein Research Academy of Sciences of the USSR, Pushchino, Moscow Region.


The neutral theory of evolution is extended to the origin of protein molecules. Arguments are presented which suggest that the amino acid sequences of many globular proteins mainly represent "memorized" random sequences while biological evolution reduces to the "editing" these random sequences. Physical requirements for a functional globular protein are formulated and it is shown that many of these requirement do not involve strategical selection of amino acid sequences during biological evolution but are inherent also for typical random sequences. In particular, it is shown that random sequences of polar and amino acid residues can form alpha-helices and beta-strand with lengths and arrangement along the chain similar to those in real globular proteins. These alpha- and beta-regions in random sequences can form three-dimensional folding patterns also similar to those in proteins. The arguments are presented suggesting that even the tight packing of side groups inside protein core do not require very strong biological selection of amino acid sequences either. Thus many structural features of real proteins can exist also in random sequences and the biological selection is needed mainly for the creation of active site of protein and for their stability under physiological conditions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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