Large conformational changes in proteins: signaling and other functions

Curr Opin Struct Biol. 2010 Apr;20(2):142-7. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2010 Jan 8.


Guanine and adenine nucleotide triphosphatases, such as Ras proteins and protein kinases, undergo large conformational changes upon ligand binding in the course of their functions. New computer simulation methods have combined with experimental studies to deepen our understanding of these phenomena. In particular, a 'conformational selection' picture is emerging, where alterations in the relative populations of pre-existing conformations can best describe the conformational switching activity of these important proteins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular
  • Protein Conformation*
  • Protein Kinases / chemistry
  • Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Proteins / chemistry*
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction*
  • ras GTPase-Activating Proteins / chemistry
  • ras GTPase-Activating Proteins / metabolism


  • Proteins
  • ras GTPase-Activating Proteins
  • Protein Kinases