It has been estimated that 30%–50% of proteins self-assemble to form complexes consisting of multiple copies of themselves. If there is a functional difference between different molecular weight forms and if these forms interconvert on a reasonable time scale then oligomerization could be an important metabolic control mechanism. The example given here is of apoE for which the oligomerization process is measured in minutes to hours and the monomer binds lipids while the tetramer does not. Examination of the literature reveals few reports on the rate constants that control the interconversion of different molecular weight forms. Perhaps it is time to collect such data.
- lipid binding