Articles

Molecular Chaperones: The Plant Connection

Science  16 Nov 1990:
Vol. 250, Issue 4983, pp. 954-959
DOI: 10.1126/science.250.4983.954

Abstract

Molecular chaperones are a family of unrelated proteins found in all types of cell. They mediate the correct assembly of other polypeptides, but are not components of the mature assembled structures. Chaperones function by binding specifically to interactive protein surfaces that are exposed transiently during many cellular processes and so prevent them from undergoing incorrect interactions that might produce nonfunctional structures. The concept of molecular chaperones originated largely from studies of the chloroplast enzyme rubisco, which fixes carbon dioxide in plant photosynthesis; the function of chaperones forces a rethinking of the principle of protein self-assembly.

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