Intrinsically Disordered Proteins

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Book Chapter

Publication Date



Conformational Ensemble, Intrinsically Disordered Protein, Intrinsically Unstructured Protein, Natively Disordered Protein, Natively Unfolded Protein, Structure-function Paradigm

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


This chapter introduces intrinsically disordered proteins, which do not have rigid three-dimensional (3-D) structures under physiological conditions, but which nevertheless carry out numerous biological functions. Such proteins challenge the prevailing structure-function paradigm, according to which the unique 3-D structure of a protein is a prerequisite to its function. Here we argue that the prevailing paradigm needs to be expanded to include intrinsically disordered proteins and their new relationships among protein sequence, structure, and function. Since this extended paradigm opens new levels of understanding of the complex life of proteins, it represents a major breakthrough for biochemistry, biophysics, and molecular biology.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Intrinsically Disordered Proteins, in E. H. Egelman (Ed.), Reference Module in Life Sciences: Comprehensive Biophysics, Elsevier, p. 170-211