Moonlighting proteins: an intriguing mode of multitasking

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2010 Apr;1803(4):520-5. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamcr.2010.01.022. Epub 2010 Feb 6.


Proteins are macromolecules, which perform a large variety of functions. Most of them have only a single function, but an increasing number of proteins are being identified as multifunctional. Moonlighting proteins form a special class of multifunctional proteins. They perform multiple autonomous and often unrelated functions without partitioning these functions into different domains of the protein. Striking examples are enzymes, which in addition to their catalytic function are involved in fully unrelated processes such as autophagy, protein transport or DNA maintenance. In this contribution we present an overview of our current knowledge of moonlighting proteins and discuss the significant implications for biomedical and fundamental research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Catalysis
  • Humans
  • Multiprotein Complexes / physiology*
  • Proteins / physiology*


  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • Proteins