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Cell Communication and Signaling

About our Editors

A. Keith Dunker, Editorial Board Member
Indiana University School of Medicine, USA
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Dr Dunker received training in chemistry and physics from University of California, Berkeley, in physics and biophysics from University of Wisconsin, Madison, and in structural biology from Yale University. From the late 1960s to the early 1990s, Dr Dunker's research focus was on the structures, functions and organization of proteins involved in the structures and assembly pathways of viruses and phages. He and his collaborators discovered that key steps in the membrane-mediated assembly of filamentous phages likely require the capsid protein be intrinsically disordered rather than structured. Others had shown that other viruses, such as Tobacco Mosaic Virus, also required protein intrinsic disorder for assembly. This led to the question, if intrinsically disordered proteins are necessary in phage and virus assembly, what other biological functions depend on or utilize absence of protein structure? A series of computational and bioinformatics studies comparing the functions of structured and intrinsically disordered proteins led to the conclusion that many protein-based cell signaling processes utilize regions of intrinsically disordered proteins.