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Fine Modulation of Aggregation Propensity Adaptively Advantageous?

Posted by forsdyke on 31 Oct 2008 at 01:37 GMT

In an important paper, Monsellier and coauthors provide evidence that in the course of "molecular evolution" there has been "a negative selection pressure" acting on many "protein sequences to finely modulate their aggregation propensities depending on different parameters related to their in vivo environment." They rightly conclude that we must "learn the 'tricks' set up by Nature to effectively control protein aggregation in the highly crowded environments of living organisms." It is understandable that they should employ the word "control" is the sense of preventing something bad happening, since we currently associate many diseases with protein aggregation. However, a case has been made that there are also circumstances in which Nature has favored the tendency of proteins to aggregate. The propensity to aggregate could be adaptively advantageous. The fine modulation of this propensity could permit intracellular self/not-self discrimination. For details please see: http://post.queensu.ca/~f... and http://post.queensu.ca/~f...