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Evolution of Protein Domains

  1. Corin A Yeats,
  2. Christine A Orengo

Published Online: 28 SEP 2007

DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0020202



How to Cite

Yeats, C. A. and Orengo, C. A. 2007. Evolution of Protein Domains. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. University College London, London, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 28 SEP 2007


Analysis of protein structures reveals that they are made up from independent globular substructures known as protein domains. The fold that these domains assume is typically the same in evolutionarily related proteins. However, exceptions to this rule allow us to begin to determine the process by which novel folds can develop from ancestral folds and possibly even how the first folds came into existence. Various lines of research have shown that thermodynamic stability, designability, functional flexibility and structural drift all play important roles in shaping the distribution and variation of structural families in nature.


  • protein evolution;
  • protein structure;
  • designability;
  • the last universal common ancestor;
  • protein domains;
  • folds.