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Breaking proteins with mutations: threads and thresholds in evolution

Bloom, Jesse D. and Arnold, Frances H. and Wilke, Claus O. (2007) Breaking proteins with mutations: threads and thresholds in evolution. Molecular Systems Biology, 3 (1). Art. No. 76. ISSN 1744-4292. PMCID PMC1800353. doi:10.1038/msb4100119.

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A common high school science experiment involves anchoring one end of a rubber band to a desk and then attaching a small weight to the other end. The weight stretches the rubber band, and adding another weight causes the rubber band to dangle even lower. More weights can be added, and each one pulls the rubber band a little further towards the floor. Now, instead imagine attaching the weights to a thread. The thread stretches only slightly; so the first couple of weights have just a small effect. But if you add enough weights, the thread suddenly breaks and the weights fall to the floor. In the first case, each additional weight stretches the rubber band by the same amount, whereas in the second, it is the combination of several weights that breaks the thread. Mutating proteins is like adding weights, as mutations eventually ‘break’ the individual proteins, dragging down the fraction of proteins that still function (this fraction is the average fitness).

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle
Bloom, Jesse D.0000-0003-1267-3408
Arnold, Frances H.0000-0002-4027-364X
Wilke, Claus O.0000-0002-7470-9261
Additional Information:© 2007 EMBO and Nature Publishing Group. Published online 30.01.2007.
Issue or Number:1
PubMed Central ID:PMC1800353
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20180820-161436856
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:88960
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:20 Aug 2018 23:42
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 00:31

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