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Proteins are macromolecules that serve a cell's myriad processes and functions in all living organisms via dynamic interactions with other proteins, small molecules and cellular components. Genetic variations in the protein-encoding regions of the human genome account for >85% of all known Mendelian diseases, and play an influential role in shaping complex polygenic diseases. Proteins also serve as the predominant target class for the design of small molecule drugs to modulate their activity. Knowledge of the shape and form of proteins, by means of their three-dimensional structures, is therefore instrumental to understanding their roles in disease and their potentials for drug development. In this chapter we outline, with the wide readership of non-structural biologists in mind, the various experimental and computational methods available for protein structure determination. We summarize how the wealth of structure information, contributed to a large extent by the technological advances in structure determination to date, serves as a useful tool to decipher the molecular basis of genetic variations for disease characterization and diagnosis, particularly in the emerging era of genomic medicine, and becomes an integral component in the modern day approach towards rational drug development.

Original publication

DOI

10.1007/128_2012_326

Type

Journal article

Journal

Top Curr Chem

Publication Date

2014

Volume

336

Pages

67 - 98

Keywords

Drug Discovery, High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing, Humans, Protein Conformation, Protein Folding, Proteins