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Protein aggregation in crowded environments
- Department of Biological Sciences, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK
- Laboratory of Biochemical Pharmacology, National Institutes of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA
The generic tendency of proteins to aggregate into non-functional, and sometimes cytotoxic, structures poses a universal problem for all types of cell. This tendency is greatly exacerbated by the high total concentration of macromolecules found within most intracellular compartments, a phenomenon referred to as macromolecular crowding. This review discusses the quantitative effects of crowding on protein aggregation and the role of molecular chaperones in combating this problem.
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