Functional regulation of proteins is central to living organisms. Here it is shown that a nonfunctional conformational state of a polypeptide can be kinetically trapped in a lipid bilayer environment. This state is a metastable structure that is stable for weeks just above the phase transition temperature of the lipid. When the samples are incubated for several days at 68°C, 50% of the trapped conformation converts to the minimum-energy functional state. This result suggests the possibility that another mechanism for functional regulation of protein activity may be available for membrane proteins: that cells may insert proteins into membranes in inactive states pending the biological demand for protein function.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Jun 11 1996|
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