Protein Folding Inside Cells and Other Crowded Environments
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Computer simulations are reaching the point where folding of small proteins in vitro can be successfully achieved ‘ab initio’ by molecular dynamics. Experiments can help further calibrate simulations, and I will discuss two examples. Experiments can also move forward to study protein dynamics in complex environment, such as the interior of the cell. There, modulation of the energy landscape and local viscosity can affect protein stability and folding kinetics. I will discuss experimental examples. The ultimate question, which cannot be answered yet, is whether cells evolved to gainfully modulate protein landscapes after post translational folding and modification, or whether microenvironments in the cell just provide stochastic modulation.