Protein folding and aggregation in bacteria

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70 Citations (Scopus)


Proteins might experience many conformational changes and interactions during their lifetimes, from their synthesis at ribosomes to their controlled degradation. Because, in most cases, only folded proteins are functional, protein folding in bacteria is tightly controlled genetically, transcriptionally, and at the protein sequence level. In addition, important cellular machinery assists the folding of polypeptides to avoid misfolding and ensure the attainment of functional structures. When these redundant protective strategies are overcome, misfolded polypeptides are recruited into insoluble inclusion bodies. The protein embedded in these intracellular deposits might display different conformations including functional and β-sheet-rich structures. The latter assemblies are similar to the amyloid fibrils characteristic of several human neurodegenerative diseases. Interestingly, bacteria exploit the same structural principles for functional properties such as adhesion or cytotoxicity. Overall, this review illustrates how prokaryotic organisms might provide the bedrock on which to understand the complexity of protein folding and aggregation in the cell. © 2010 Springer Basel AG.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2695-2715
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2010


  • Amyloid
  • Bacteria
  • Chaperones
  • Inclusion bodies
  • Protein aggregation
  • Protein folding
  • Protein synthesis


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