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An Isaac Newton Institute Workshop

Protein-Protein Interactions in Vitro and in Vivo

Achieving specificity in regulated protein-protein interactions

Author: Laurence Pearl (Institute of Cancer Research)


The crowded environment of a cell presents an individual protein with a considerable evolutionary challenge if it is to achieve specific 'signal' interactions with authentic macromolecular partners and minimise non-specific 'noise'. Simply maximising the interaction energy of the specific complexes improves the signal-to-noise ratio, but at the price of reversibility. Proteins involved in regulated rather than constitutive complexes, must achieve specificity by more subtle mechanisms, which will be illustrated by examples of macromolecular complexes determined in our laboratory.

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