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Quote of the Week
(November 27, 2023)

[Regarding the decisive realization in contemporary molecular biological research that many proteins do not, as previously thought, have a fixed, functional structure, but rather have a “molten” or “intrinsically disordered” structure enabling them to play diverse and dynamic roles in the biochemistry of cells:] But the troubling question arises: if unstructured proteins, or unstructured regions in proteins, are not “pre-fitted” for particular interactions — if, in their “molten” state, they have boundless possibilities for interacting with other molecules and even for reversing their effects — how do these proteins “know” what to do at any one place and time? Or, as one pair of researchers put it, “How is the logic of molecular specificity encoded in the promiscuous interactions of intrinsically disordered proteins?”

(from Chapter 5, “Our Bodies Are Formed Streams”, in Organisms and Their Evolution — Agency and Meaning in the Drama of Life)

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