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Conformational disease


A large and diverse number of diseases are now recognized as `conformational diseases', caused by adoption of non-native protein conformations that lead to aggregation. The recent conference, `Alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency and other conformational diseases', held in Airlie, Virginia, USA (27–30 June, 2000) focused on some of the common pathways by which cells protect themselves from toxicity associated with protein misfolding and aggregation.

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Figure 1: Loop–sheet polymers of α-1-antitrypsin. The severe Z-deficiency variant perturbs the structure of α-1-antitrypsin, allowing the reactive centre loop of one molecule to insert into β-sheet A of a second.
Figure 2: Inclusion bodies in different cellular compartments.

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Kopito, R., Ron, D. Conformational disease. Nat Cell Biol 2, E207–E209 (2000).

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