Author: Charalampos Kalodimos, PhD

Chaperones: probing the structural secrets of the cell’s front-line protein protectors

Molecules called chaperones are the first line of defense against proteins going “bad” in cells. Normally, proteins are folded from an initial string-like shape into globular functioning enzymes and other cell components. But when a cell is under stress, proteins may unfold, misfold or form into toxic clumps. Such malfunction can give rise to neurodegenerative diseases and other conditions. Chaperones, found in all cells and all organisms, bind transiently to proteins to prevent such malfunctions. However, until our work, nobody had known the structural details of how a chaperone binds to its “client” protein. Published in Science, our latest...

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