Proteins as information processing units.

Tom Lenaerts, Joost Schymkowitz, Frederic Rousseau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Transducing environmental signals from the cell surface to the nucleus in order to evoke appropriate gene regulatory
response requires an accurate and robust medium to propagate biological information. The structure of proteins and
especially the dynamic properties of these structures allows for the uptake and restitution of biological information from
and to the environment. To understand the functioning and regulation of signalling pathways we therefore have to understand
how protein structures encode biological information. Towards this goal several computational methods have been
carried out over the last years. First we will provide an overview of these in silico approaches. Next, using the well known
SH2 domain as a case study, we describe two specific approaches in more detail to illustrate the similarities and differences
between sequence-based and structure-based methods for the analysis of protein communication. Both methods address
the same question yet from a different level of description. As a consequence both have their limits and a number of
pros and cons that are discussed here. Together all the methods discussed here provide an arsenal of in silico approaches
that may be used to understand how information content is maintained through protein structural dynamics, elucidating
explicitly information transfer in signalling networks.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-145
Number of pages13
JournalCurrent Protein and Peptide Science
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2009


  • information
  • protein
  • allostery


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