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J Biol Chem. 2016 Mar 25;291(13):6681-8. doi: 10.1074/jbc.R115.685859. Epub 2016 Feb 5.

Dancing Protein Clouds: The Strange Biology and Chaotic Physics of Intrinsically Disordered Proteins.

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From the Department of Molecular Medicine, USF Health Byrd Alzheimer's Research Institute, Morsani College of Medicine, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida 33612, the Biological Sciences Department, Faculty of Science, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah 21589, Saudi Arabia, the Institute for Biological Instrumentation, Russian Academy of Sciences, 142292 Pushchino, Moscow Region, Russia, and the Laboratory of Structural Dynamics, Stability and Folding of Proteins, Institute of Cytology, Russian Academy of Sciences, 194064 St. Petersburg, Russian Federation


Biologically active but floppy proteins represent a new reality of modern protein science. These intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) and hybrid proteins containing ordered and intrinsically disordered protein regions (IDPRs) constitute a noticeable part of any given proteome. Functionally, they complement ordered proteins, and their conformational flexibility and structural plasticity allow them to perform impossible tricks and be engaged in biological activities that are inaccessible to well folded proteins with their unique structures. The major goals of this minireview are to show that, despite their simplified amino acid sequences, IDPs/IDPRs are complex entities often resembling chaotic systems, are structurally and functionally heterogeneous, and can be considered an important part of the structure-function continuum. Furthermore, IDPs/IDPRs are everywhere, and are ubiquitously engaged in various interactions characterized by a wide spectrum of binding scenarios and an even wider spectrum of structural and functional outputs.


complexity; dynamical system; intrinsically disordered protein; intrinsically disordered proteins; multifunctional protein; post-translational modification (PTM); posttranslational modification; protein folding; protein-protein interaction; structural heterogeneity

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