Historically introduced by McConkey to explain the slow mutation rate of highly abundant proteins, weak protein (quinary) interactions are an emergent property of living cells. The protein complexes that result from quinary interactions are transient and thus difficult to study biochemically in vitro. Cross-correlated relaxation-induced polarization transfer-based in-cell nuclear magnetic resonance allows the characterization of protein quinary interactions with atomic resolution inside live prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. We show that RNAs are an important component of protein quinary interactions. Protein quinary interactions are unique to the target protein and may affect physicochemical properties, protein activity, and interactions with drugs.
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© 2015 American Chemical Society.