Between Order and Disorder in Protein Structures: Analysis of "Dual Personality" Fragments in Proteins

  • Zhang Y
  • Stec B
  • Godzik A
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In their natural environment, three-dimensional structures of proteins undergo significant fluctuations and are often partially or completely disordered. This phenomenon recently became the focus of much attention, as many proteins, especially from higher organisms, were shown to contain large intrinsically disordered regions. Such disordered regions may become ordered only under very specific circumstances, if at all, and can be recognized by specific amino acid composition and sequence signatures. Here, we suggest that the balance between order and disorder is much more subtle in that many regions are very close to the order/disorder boundary. Specifically, analysis of redundant sets of experimental models of protein structures, where emphasis is put on comparison of structures of identical proteins solved in different conditions and functional states, shows hundreds of fragments captured in two states: ordered and disordered. We show that such fragments, which we call here "dual personality" (DP) fragments, have distinctive features that differentiate them from both regularly folded and intrinsically disordered fragments. We hypothesize, and show on several examples, that such fragments are often targets of regulation, either by allostery or posttranslational modifications. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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  • Ying Zhang

  • Boguslaw Stec

  • Adam Godzik

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