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Sci. Signal., 14 September 2010
Vol. 3, Issue 139, p. pe31
[DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.3139pe31]

PERSPECTIVES

Signals: Tinkering with Domains

Erich Bornberg-Bauer*

Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity, University of Münster, Hüfferstrasse 1, D48149, Münster, Germany.

Abstract: Evolution reuses established modules. At the level of cell signaling, protein domains are used in many contexts to transfer different messages. A frequently occurring binding domain uses a structural scaffold to allow for sequence variation at critical sites without compromising structural stability. Even random mutations have a high chance of conferring a novel function, and only a small fraction of available sequence space is actually explored. Accordingly, current lab techniques allow us to infer evolutionary routes, exploring the possible and the attainable in terms of complex structure-function relationships.

* Corresponding author. E-mail, ebb{at}uni-muenster.de

Citation: E. Bornberg-Bauer, Signals: Tinkering with Domains. Sci. Signal. 3, pe31 (2010).

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