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Protein Disorder in Arabidopsis thaliana - Implications for Plant Environmental Adaptation

Intrinsically Disordered Proteins/Regions (IDPs/IDRs) lack a fixed 3D structure in their native (functional) form. These highly mobile polypeptides are generally involved in functions associated to transient protein interactions, since their conformational flexibility makes them very suitable for this kind of molecular recognition. For this reason, IDPs are involved in key cellular process such as cell-cycle control and signaling, where this type of molecular interactions are frequent. Due to their involvement in important cellular processes, the repertory of IDPs in a given proteome provides insight into important biological aspects of the corresponding organism. In general, high IDP content has been associated to complexity, both at the organism and cellular process levels. Since IDPs/IDRs are frequently involved in transient interactions, introducing disorder in a given system is a way of increasing its "wiring" (the number of interactions/connections) and consequently the complexity. The proteome of A. thaliana contains less IDPs than that of Human. Nevertheless, some particular processes, mainly related to response to external stimulus contain more disorder in the plant than in Human. We propose that since plants cannot escape from environmental conditions as animals do, they use disorder as a simple and fast mechanism, independent of transcriptional control, for introducing versatility in the interaction networks underlying these biological processes so that they can quickly adapt and respond to challenging environmental conditions.

More information and links

  • Natalia Pietrosemoli, Juan A. García-Martín, Roberto Solano and Florencio Pazos (2013). Genome-Wide Analysis of Protein Disorder in Arabidopsis thaliana: Implications for Plant Environmental Adaptation. PLoS One. 8(2):e55524.
    [PubMed:23408995] [HTML] [PDF]
  • Florencio Pazos, Natalia Pietrosemoli, Juan A. García-Martín and Roberto Solano. (2013). Protein intrinsic disorder in plants. Frontiers in Plant Science. 4:363.
    [PubMed:24062761] [HTML] [PDF]
  • Intrinsically unstructured proteins (Wikipedia)

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