The Generation of New Protein Functions by the Combination of Domains

Matthew Bashton, Cyrus Chothia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Citations (Scopus)


During evolution, many new proteins have been formed by the process of gene duplication and combination. The genes involved in this process usually code for whole domains. Small proteins contain one domain; medium and large proteins contain two or more domains. We have compared homologous domains that occur in both one-domain proteins and multidomain proteins. We have determined (1) how the functions of the individual domains in the multidomain proteins combine to produce their overall functions and (2) the extent to which these functions are similar to those in the one-domain homologs. We describe how domain combinations increase the specificity of enzymes; act as links between domains that have functional roles; regulate activity; combine within one chain functions that can act either independently, in concert or in new contexts; and provide the structural framework for the evolution of entirely new functions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-99
Number of pages15
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jan 2007
Externally publishedYes


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