Looking at the Disordered Proteins through the Computational Microscope
Intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) have attracted wide interest over the past decade due to their surprising prevalence in the proteome and versatile roles in cell physiology and pathology. A large selection of IDPs has been identified as potential targets for therapeutic intervention. Characterizing the structure-function relationship of disordered proteins is therefore an essential but daunting task, as these proteins can adapt transient structure, necessitating a new paradigm for connecting structural disorder to function. Molecular simulation has emerged as a natural complement to experiments for atomic-level characterizations and mechanistic investigations of this intriguing class of proteins. The diverse range of length and time scales involved in IDP function requires performing simulations at multiple levels of resolution. In this Outlook, we focus on summarizing available simulation methods, along with a few interesting example applications. We also provide an outlook on how these simulation methods can be further improved in order to provide a more accurate description of IDP structure, binding, and assembly.