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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)

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:

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


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