About this Research Topic
In recent years, the classic view of protein folding as the path from the unfolded to the native state has been revolutionized by the discovery of the significant structural plasticity of proteins. Indeed, the paradigm one sequence-one structure is no more valid, because each gene encodes a protein that can fluctuate among various conformational states. Protein plasticity is crucial to determine the overall thermodynamic stability, the resistance to altered environmental conditions, as well as the ability to interact with a ligand or a binding partner, and the propensity to aggregation/degradation. Phenotypic plasticity also affects protein evolution. Indeed, even small changes of the environmental conditions or of the genetic sequence (such as single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)) can induce significant alterations in protein plasticity, thus possibly affecting proteome integrity and resulting or predisposing to a disease state.
Thanks to the recent technological advances in the field of molecular biology, genetics, biophysics, biochemical, and cell biology techniques, the analysis of factors influencing protein plasticity at both molecular and cellular level has significantly improved. On the one hand, this knowledge has been translated into protein engineering and evolution studies, with important industrial applications in particular in the biomedical field for protein-administration therapies. In addition, hand in hand with the ease of sequencing, an enormous interest has been directed toward the elucidation of the molecular effects of inherited or acquired genetic alterations, including SNPs, as possible biomarkers crucial for diagnosis, disease prediction, and risk/benefit assessment in patient management.
This Research Topic has the aim of bringing together the most recent research focused on the study of protein conformational plasticity, including its role in protein evolution and engineering, the influence of genetic factors and environmental alterations, as well as the link with human disease pathogenesis. We aim at providing a comprehensive view by including different research areas spanning from bioinformatics, biophysics and biochemical studies on single proteins, to cell biology and genetics. Articles in form of Original Research, Review, Mini-Review, and Perspective are welcome.
Topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:
• Protein dynamics and protein stability studies
• Protein conformational alterations and their role in human disease
• Role of small molecule ligands on protein dynamics
• Protein evolution and protein engineering studies: industrial and biomedical applications
• Sensing of protein fluctuation and role of molecular chaperones
• Gene and genome variation as modifiers of disease expression
• Gene X Environment in human disease
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.