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Revisiting protein folding
Protein folding is at least a six decade old problem, since the times of Pauling and Anfinsen. At IIT Delhi, a completely new direction has been provided towards obtaining a solution to this problem. Rigorous analyses of several thousand crystal structures of folded proteins reveal a surprisingly simple unifying principle of backbone organization. We find that protein folding is a direct consequence of a narrow band of stoichiometric occurrences of amino-acids in primary sequences, regardless of the size and the fold of the protein. We call this narrow band of stoichiometric occurrences as the "margin of life". Our findings present a compelling case for a newer view of protein folding which takes into account solvent mediated and amino acid shape and size assisted optimization of the tertiary structure of the polypeptide chain to make a functional protein that leads to survival of living systems over evolutionary timescales.
Aditya Mittal (Associate Professor)
School of Biological Sciences