Proteins are indispensable for life on Earth. The work of the Max Planck Research Unit for Enzymology of Protein Folding is concerned with the structure and function of these macromolecules. Proteins consist of chains of amino acids which can cluster with one another. In doing so, they form complex spatial arrangements that are instrumental in helping to determine the characteristics of the protein. Scientists at the research unit endeavour to find out how the amino acid chains are capable of unfolding themselves in such a way as to afford proteins their correct spatial structure. This includes the study of special proteins that support the folding process. Molecular-biological and genetic tests help the scientists to understand, for instance, the role of protein folding in signal transduction in cells and the development of diseases.
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