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Susan Lindquist intervew: Why is protein folding so important?

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It’s what allows the protein to execute all the functions that it’s going to execute. Each protein has to have this very precise shape, and that shape is ultimately dictated by the amino acids I mentioned. Those amino acids have all these different properties, so they will cause the protein to fold, the chain to take different shapes. But the problem with protein folding is that is has to take place inside of a living cell, and there are an awful lot of other proteins in that cell. There are 300 mg per ml of protein. It is just hard to imagine how many. It is absolutely packed with proteins. As these linear long strings are coming out and they have to fold into very precise shapes, it is really crowded and they are bumping into all kinds of other proteins, and there is a lot of kinetic energy. Proteins are bombarding other proteins, and they can stick to each other. And they can make a mess in a hurry. The problem of protein folding, which is necessary to create the function of the protein, is that it is difficult for the cells do it. You can say: “Why in Heaven’s name would a cell be that crowded? Why would it do that?” The reason is that once the protein get folded, and you have them really close together inside the cell, you get tremendous synergies, because things can move from one protein to the next protein really, really fast. You can move an electron from one protein to another, down an electron transport chain, and that works extremely well when the cell is crowded. But the cell has to cope constantly with this problem that it is buying a lot of efficiency by that crowding, but it is making it hard for the proteins to fold. That’s really the central problem of what I work on.

Video Details

Duration: 1 minute and 53 seconds
Country: Sweden
Language: English
Producer: MoleCluesTV
Director: Per Thorén
Views: 119
Posted by: locumele on May 12, 2014

Professor Susan Lindquist interviewed for MoleClues. Entire interview available on www.moleclues.org

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