Intrinsically disordered proteins participate in important protein-protein and protein-nucleic acid interactions and control cellular phenotypes through their prominence as dynamic organizers of transcriptional, post-transcriptional and signalling networks. These proteins challenge the tenets of the structure-function paradigm and their functional mechanisms remain a mystery given that they fail to fold autonomously into specific structures. Solving this mystery requires a first principles understanding of the quantitative relationships between information encoded in the sequences of disordered proteins and the ensemble of conformations they sample. Advances in quantifying sequence-ensemble relationships have been facilitated through a four-way synergy between bioinformatics, biophysical experiments, computer simulations and polymer physics theories. In the present review we evaluate these advances and the resultant insights that allow us to develop a concise quantitative framework for describing the sequence-ensemble relationships of intrinsically disordered proteins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-318
Number of pages12
JournalBiochemical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 2013


  • Intrinsically disordered protein
  • Polymer physics
  • Sequence-ensemble relationship


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