Editors' ChoiceALLOSTERIC MODULATION

Modular Switches

Science's STKE  30 Sep 2003:
Vol. 2003, Issue 202, pp. tw377-TW377
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2003.202.tw377

Many proteins behave like complex switches, integrating multiple inputs to control downstream outputs. It has been thought that such switches could evolve through recombination of their modular domains. Dueber et al. demonstrate this principle by showing that the actin-polymerizing activity of neuronal Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (WASP) can be reprogrammed to respond to unnatural input by replacing input domains with heterologous ones. Achieving switch diversity through this process could underlie the evolution of signaling circuits.

J. E. Dueber, B. J. Yeh, K. Chak, W. A. Lim, Reprogramming control of an allosteric signaling switch through modular recombination. Science 301, 1904-1908 (2003). [Abstract] [Full Text]