Protein conformation dictates a great deal of protein function. A class of naturally unstructured proteins, termed intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs), demonstrates that flexibility in structure can be as important mechanistically as rigid structure. At the core of the circadian transcription/translation feedback loop in Neurospora crassa is the protein FREQUENCY (FRQ), shown here shown to share many characteristics of IDPs. FRQ in turn binds to FREQUENCY-Interacting RNA Helicase (FRH), whose clock function has been assumed to relate to its predicted helicase function. However, mutational analyses reveal that the helicase function of FRH is not essential for the clock, and a region of FRH distinct from the helicase regionis essential for stabilizing FRQ against rapid degradation via a pathway distinct from its typical ubiquitin-mediated turnover. These data lead to the hypothesis that FRQ is an IDP and that FRH acts nonenzymatically, stabilizing FRQ to enable proper clock circuitry/function. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.
Hurley, J. M., Larrondo, L. F., Loros, J. J., & Dunlap, J. C. (2013). Conserved RNA helicase FRH acts nonenzymatically to support the intrinsically disordered neurospora clock protein FRQ. Molecular Cell, 52(6), 832–843. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.molcel.2013.11.005