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Structure-Function Relationships

In this episode, we discussed whether structure determines function, at different scales, from protein folding to neuronal dynamics that underlie behaviour.


In the context of proteins:


Anfinsen’s experiment shows that the order of amino acid building blocks in a protein (the primary structure) determines the 3D structure of proteins, which ultimately determines function:


Chaperones are proteins that help other proteins fold:


What about the case of "intrinsically disordered proteins", which lack a fixed 3D shape but

still carries out a specified function?


Intrinsically Disordered Proteins and Their “Mysterious” (Meta)Physics (V. Uversky 2019)


Intrinsic disorder in protein domains contributes to both organism complexity and clade-specific functions (Chao Gao, 2021) https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-021-82656-9


Recent research has revealed that cells are organised not only through membrane-bound organelles, but also through liquid droplets assembled by a process known as phase separation:


Do dynamics within a system have a structure?


In the brain, neural state space and attractor networks: http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Attractor_network


Example of grid cell activity, which encodes space, as a torus attractor:

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