Allostery: An Overview of Its History, Concepts, Methods, and Applications

PLoS Comput Biol. 2016 Jun 2;12(6):e1004966. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1004966. eCollection 2016 Jun.


The concept of allostery has evolved in the past century. In this Editorial, we briefly overview the history of allostery, from the pre-allostery nomenclature era starting with the Bohr effect (1904) to the birth of allostery by Monod and Jacob (1961). We describe the evolution of the allostery concept, from a conformational change in a two-state model (1965, 1966) to dynamic allostery in the ensemble model (1999); from multi-subunit (1965) proteins to all proteins (2004). We highlight the current available methods to study allostery and their applications in studies of conformational mechanisms, disease, and allosteric drug discovery. We outline the challenges and future directions that we foresee. Altogether, this Editorial narrates the history of this fundamental concept in the life sciences, its significance, methodologies to detect and predict it, and its application in a broad range of living systems.

Publication types

  • Editorial
  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Allosteric Regulation*
  • Biochemistry / history*
  • Biomedical Research / history*
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological

Grant support

The authors received no specific funding for this article.