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Is it fair to describe a protein recruited for many cellular chores as ‘moonlighting’ and ‘promiscuous’?

Ramasarma, T (1999) Is it fair to describe a protein recruited for many cellular chores as ‘moonlighting’ and ‘promiscuous’? In: Current Science, 77 (11). pp. 1401-1405.

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The active site of an enzyme protein occupies a relatively small area of its large surface. Many more activities can be accomplished by a single protein provided more active sites can be fitted on its vast unused (?) surface. This makes sense in the best interest of the cellular economy. The concept of multifunctionality of some enzyme proteins is accepted1; never mind the dogma of their specificity, as the two sites can act independently. It is not necessary that the same molecule of the protein does one job at a time. There are many molecules of the protein in the cell, and portions of these can be assigned for each task in different parts of the cell. The concept of multiple functions of a protein can be expanded to encompass non-catalytic structural roles. In order to popularize the phenomenon, attempts are made to add colloquial adjectives such as moonlighting and promiscuous. I believe that the use of inappropriate descriptions for catching the attention of readers is likely to be counterproductive. A case is made here for caution and restraint.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Current Science
Publisher: Indian Academy of Sciences
Additional Information: The copyright of this article belongs to Indian Academy of Sciences.
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Biochemistry
Date Deposited: 10 Sep 2004
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2010 04:16
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/1839

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