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5 Dynamic proteins

5.1 Introduction

In some ways, proteins can be thought of as molecular machines, that through evolution have become highly specialised and efficient. Despite the somewhat static representations of proteins that you have met so far, proteins are in fact dynamic molecules. Not only are there internal movements, with conformational changes that are integral to protein function and regulation of function, but proteins, by virtue of their specific interactions with other cellular components, are essential to all the dynamic processes that constitute the life of a cell.

In this section, we are going to consider ways in which proteins can function in a responsive and interactive way, and we will try to relate such dynamic activity to protein structure. Given the vast number of different proteins, this discussion is far from exhaustive and only a few key well-characterised proteins have been chosen to illustrate the basic concepts.


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