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Post-reductionist protein science, or putting Humpty Dumpty back together again

In their native environments, proteins perform their biological roles in highly concentrated viscous solutions and in complex networks with numerous partners. Yet for many years, the normal practice has been to purify a protein of interest in order to characterize its structural and functional properties. In this Commentary, we discuss how protein scientists are now tackling the theoretical and methodological challenges of studying proteins in their physiological context.

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Figure 1: A cross-section of a bacterial cell.
Figure 2: Examples of powerful new methods to study proteins in their native environments, networks and complexes.

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Correspondence to Lila M Gierasch or Anne Gershenson.

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Gierasch, L., Gershenson, A. Post-reductionist protein science, or putting Humpty Dumpty back together again. Nat Chem Biol 5, 774–777 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1038/nchembio.241

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