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A Solid-State Conceptualization of Information Transfer from Gene to Message to Protein

Authors
  • Kato, Masato
  • McKnight, Steven L.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Annual Review of Biochemistry
Publisher
Annual Reviews
Publication Date
Jun 20, 2018
Volume
87
Pages
351–390
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1146/annurev-biochem-061516-044700
Source
Annual Reviews
Keywords
License
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Abstract

In this review, we describe speculative ideas and early stage research concerning the flow of genetic information from the nuclear residence of genes to the disparate, cytoplasmic sites of protein synthesis. We propose that this process of information transfer is meticulously guided by transient structures formed from protein segments of low sequence complexity/intrinsic disorder. These low complexity domains are ubiquitously associated with regulatory proteins that control gene expression and RNA biogenesis, but they are also found in the central channel of nuclear pores, the nexus points of intermediate filament assembly, and the locations of action of other well-studied cellular proteins and pathways. Upon being organized into localized cellular positions via mechanisms utilizing properly folded protein domains, thereby facilitating elevated local concentration, certain low complexity domains adopt cross-β interactions that are both structurally specific and labile to disassembly. These weakly tethered assemblies, we propose, are built to relay the passage of genetic information from one site to another within a cell, ensuring that the process is of extreme fidelity.

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