The linkage between protein folding and functional cooperativity: Two sides of the same coin?

Irene Luque, Stephanie A. Leavitt, Ernesto Freire

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

143 Scopus citations


During the course of their biological function, proteins undergo different types of structural rearrangements ranging from local to large-scale conformational changes. These changes are usually triggered by their interactions with small-molecular-weight ligands or other macromolecules. Because binding interactions occur at specific sites and involve only a small number of residues, a chain of cooperative interactions is necessary for the propagation of binding signals to distal locations within the protein structure. This process requires an uneven structural distribution of protein stability and cooperativity as revealed by NMR-detected hydrogen/deuterium exchange experiments under native conditions. The distribution of stabilizing interactions does not only provide the architectural foundation to the three-dimensional structure of a protein, but it also provides the required framework for functional cooperativity. In this review, the statistical thermodynamic linkage between protein stability, functional cooperativity, and ligand binding is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-256
Number of pages22
JournalAnnual Review of Biophysics and Biomolecular Structure
StatePublished - 2002


  • Allosterism
  • Calorimetry
  • Cooperativity
  • Ligand binding
  • Protein stability
  • Thermodynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Structural Biology


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