HOT: exploring mechanisms of long distance cell signal travel

Ruth Nussinov, NCI-Frederick, discusses the possible mechanisms that support long-range signalling in cells in this hot Opinion article.

She proposes that three key properties have evolved to enable signals to travel rapidly over comparatively vast cellular distances: 1) modular organisation according to protein function, 2) sequences are ‘pre-encoded’ to facilitate signalling and 3) intrinsically disordered proteins enable fast signal transmission through dense packing.

Researcher insight:

This paper proposes that conformational disorder can help faster propagation of signals across the cell. When disordered proteins bind, their interface is tightly packed. Dense packing facilitates efficient transmission of the allosteric energy wave, which leads to fast cellular response to external stimuli.

-Ruth Nussinov

How do dynamic cellular signals travel long distances?
Ruth Nussinov
DOI: 10.1039/C1MB05205E

This article is part of our themed issue on intrinsically disordered proteins and is currently free to access for 4 weeks. Don’t forget to check all the other hot articles in this issue!

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