Possible biological roles for metastable proteins

Kenneth W. Nickerson, Richard A. Day

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


We feel it is important to point out certain complications stemming from some assumptions contained in current thinking on the relationship of protein conformation to primary sequence. 1) It is justifiably felt that the primary sequence of a protein determines its conformation in a given environment; this has been proven in many cases (Buckley, Whitney and Tanford, 1963; Deal, Rutter, Massey and Van Holde, 1963; Epstein, Goldberger and Afinsen, 1963). 2) It has become implicit in the thinking of many biochemists that the biologically active conformation of a protein is the most stable thermodynamically. We feel that it is a priori unlikely that these two assumptions are without important exceptions and would like to suggest a mechanistic approach for the additional proposal that some, proteins exist in their active form in a thermodynamically metastable state, and that this may have important biological implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)303-306
Number of pages4
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1969
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Applied Mathematics


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