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Access to the article is free, however registration and sign-in are required. Proteins that can adopt more than one native folded conformation may be more common than previously thought. A small but growing number of "metamorphic" proteins adopt different folded conformations for the same amino acid sequence in native conditions. Unlike prions, they undergo reversible conformational changes. Most of these proteins have been treated as special cases, because the transitions between their alternative conformations are triggered by environmental factors. The discoveries of a new metamorphic protein capable of independent interconversion (1) and of an abrupt fold change in a protein lineage (2) point to a more general nature of this phenomenon.
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