Protein folding raises some of biology's greatest theoretical challenges. It also lies at the root of many diseases. For example, the fundamental question of whether a protein's final tertiary conformation, sometimes called the native state, can be predicted from its primary amino acid sequence is also of vital importance in understanding the protein's potential capacity to form disease-inducing aggregates.


Here's a list of protein folding-related disease categories:

1. Amyloidoses, such as Alzheimer and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, involve deposits of aggregated proteins in a variety of tissues, and typically lead to degradation of cognitive or motor functions.

2. Lung diseases, such as cystic fibrosis or hereditary emphysema, entail mutations that lead to degradation of proteins that have vital respiratory functions.

3. Blood coagulation diseases also involve mutations that lead to retention and degradation of vital proteins (for example, protein C), blocking secretion and causing deficiencies in...

Interested in reading more?

Magaizne Cover

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?