Unstructural biology coming of age.

TitleUnstructural biology coming of age.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsTompa, P.
JournalCurr Opin Struct Biol
Date Published2011 Jun
Type of Articleidp
KeywordsAnimals, Computational Biology, Drug Design, Evolution, Molecular, Humans, Protein Binding, Protein Conformation, Protein Folding, Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs, Proteins

It is now generally accepted that many proteins or protein domains (intrinsically disordered proteins, IDPs) lack a well-defined tertiary structure under functional conditions. Due to recent concerted activity, a critical transition in this field is gaining momentum, in which qualitative observations are turned into quantitative structural models of IDPs. Here, it is suggested that the transition is set up by the synergy of: (i) more advanced bioinformatic tools for the prediction of disorder and function of IDPs, (ii) ensemble description of their structure and dynamics in both free and bound states, down to the single molecule level, (iii) advent of in-cell approaches for characterizing their structure and function in vivo, and (iv) generation of small-molecule inhibitors both against their binding partners and IDPs themselves. In all, we suggest that due to steady advance in these areas, the field of 'unstructural' biology is rapidly maturing to a state where it can provide quantitative models of proteins functioning without well-defined three-dimensional structures.

Alternate JournalCurr. Opin. Struct. Biol.
PubMed ID21514142
Research group: