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The discovery of intrinsic disorderness in proteins and peptide regions has given a new and useful insight into the working of biological systems. Due to enormous plasticity and heterogeneity, intrinsically disordered proteins or regions in proteins can perform myriad of functions. The flexibility in disordered proteins allows them to undergo conformation transition to form homopolymers of proteins called amyloids. Amyloids are highly structured protein aggregates associated with many neurodegenerative diseases. However, amyloids have gained much appreciation in recent years due to their functional roles. A functional amyloid fiber called curli is assembled on the bacterial cell surface as a part of the extracellular matrix during biofilm formation. The extracellular matrix that encases cells in a biofilm protects the cells and provides resistance against many environmental stresses. Several of the Csg (curli specific genes) proteins that are required for curli amyloid assembly are predicted to be intrinsically disordered. Therefore, curli amyloid formation is highly orchestrated so that these intrinsically disordered proteins do not inappropriately aggregate at the wrong time or place. The curli proteins are compartmentalized and there are chaperone-like proteins that prevent inappropriate aggregation and allow the controlled assembly of curli amyloids. Here we review the biogenesis of curli amyloids and the role that intrinsically disordered proteins play in the process.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Biochimica et biophysica acta. Proteins and proteomics
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