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The Designability Hypothesis and Protein Evolution

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The usage of protein folds in nature is known to be non-uniform: a few folds are used often, while most others are used relatively rarely. What makes one fold more successful than another? The designability explanation, which posits that successful folds have an exponentially larger number of compatible sequences, is critically reviewed, and compared with other structural and functional explanations. It is argued that designability is one component of fold fitness, but most likely not a dominant one.

Keywords: designability; in vitro evolution; protein design; protein evolution; protein folding

Document Type: Review Article


Affiliations: Rockefeller University, 1230 York Avenue, New York, NY 10021, USA.

Publication date: 2005-02-01

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  • Protein & Peptide Letters publishes short papers in all important aspects of protein and peptide research, including structural studies, recombinant expression, function, synthesis, enzymology, immunology, molecular modeling, drug design etc. Manuscripts must have a significant element of novelty, timeliness and urgency that merit rapid publication. Reports of crystallisation, and preliminary structure determinations of biologically important proteins are acceptable. Purely theoretical papers are also acceptable provided they provide new insight into the principles of protein/peptide structure and function.
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