Protein unfolding is an important step in several cellular processes such as protein degradation by ATP-dependent proteases and protein translocation across some membranes. Recent studies have shown that the mechanisms of protein unfolding in vivo differ from those of the spontaneous unfolding in vitro measured by solvent denaturation. Proteases and translocases pull at a substrate polypeptide chain and thereby catalyze unraveling by changing the unfolding pathway of that protein. The unfoldases move along the polypeptide chains of their protein substrates. The resistance of a protein to unfolding is then determined by the stability of the region of its structure that is first encountered by the unfoldase. Because unfolding is a necessary step in protein degradation and translocation, the susceptibility of a substrate protein to unfolding contributes to the specificity of these pathways.