Proteins without Unique 3D Structures: Biotechnological Applications of Intrinsically Unstable/disordered Proteins

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Amino acid sequence, IDP, Intrinsic disorder, Protein conformation, Protein folding

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Intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) and intrinsically disordered protein regions (IDPRs) are functional proteins or regions that do not have unique 3D structures under functional conditions. Therefore, from the viewpoint of their lack of stable 3D structure, IDPs/IDPRs are inherently unstable. As much as structure and function of normal ordered globular proteins are determined by their amino acid sequences, the lack of unique 3D structure in IDPs/IDPRs and their disorder-based functionality are also encoded in the amino acid sequences. Because of their specific sequence features and distinctive conformational behavior, these intrinsically unstable proteins or regions have several applications in biotechnology. This review introduces some of the most characteristic features of IDPs/IDPRs (such as peculiarities of amino acid sequences of these proteins and regions, their major structural features, and peculiar responses to changes in their environment) and describes how these features can be used in the biotechnology, for example for the proteome-wide analysis of the abundance of extended IDPs, for recombinant protein isolation and purification, as polypeptide nanoparticles for drug delivery, as solubilization tools, and as thermally sensitive carriers of active peptides and proteins.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Biotechnology Journal, v. 10, issue 3, p. 356-366