Protein multi-functionality: introduction
The five articles in this multi-author review in CMLS provide examples of multi-functionality of proteins belonging to several families. Distinct structural features of proteins suggesting multi-functionality are emphasized: intrinsically disordered elements that can “mold” themselves to fit various binding partners, as well as short linear motifs within larger proteins that perform particular functions. Although only a few protein families are discussed in detail, the conclusions apply to numerous, if not all, proteins. Multi-functionality of virtually every protein implies that the manipulation of its expression levels by over-expression, knockdown, or knockout affects every one of its functions, known and unknown, so that the results of these experiments must be interpreted with this complexity in mind. Particular functions in a multi-functional protein are often fulfilled by identifiable smaller elements that can be expressed separately. Identification of mono-functional elements of a multi-functional protein paves the way to the construction of novel precisely targeted molecular tools for selective manipulation of cellular signaling that can be used for mechanistic studies in cell biology, as well as for therapeutic purposes.
KeywordsProtein Multi-functionality GPCR Arrestin GRK G protein Linear motif Post-translational modification Intrinsic disorder