Biology & Philosophy

, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 533–545 | Cite as

Structure, function, and protein taxonomy

Article

Abstract

This paper considers two recent arguments that structure should not be regarded as the fundamental individuating property of proteins. By clarifying both what it might mean for certain properties to play a fundamental role in a classification scheme and the extent to which structure plays such a role in protein classification, I argue that both arguments are unsound. Because of its robustness, its importance in laboratory practice, and its explanatory centrality, primary structure should be regarded as the fundamental distinguishing characteristic of protein taxonomy.

Keywords

Proteins Structure Function Classification Natural kinds 

References

  1. Dunker A, Oldfield C, Meng J, Romero P, Yang J, Chen J, Vacic V, Obradovic Z, Uversky V (2008) The unfoldomics decade: an update on intrinsically disordered proteins. BMC Genomics 9(Suppl 2):S1–S2CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Goodwin W (2009) Visual representations in science. Philos Science 76(3):372–390CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Goodwin W (2010) How do structural formulas embody the theory of organic chemistry? Br J Philos Sci 61(3):621–633CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Hendry R (2006) Elements, compounds, and other chemical kinds. Philos Sci 73:864–875CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Slater M (2009) Macromolecular pluralism. Philos Sci 76(5):851–863Google Scholar
  6. Stanford P (1995) For pluralism and against realism about species. Philos Sci 62:70–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Tobin E (2010) Microstructuralism and macromolecules: the case of moonlighting proteins. Found Chem 12(1):41–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Tompa P, Szasz C, Buday L (2005) Structural disorder throws new light on moonlighting. Trends Biochem Sci 30:484–489CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Wright P, Dyson H (1999) Intrinsically unstructured proteins: re-assessing the protein structure-function paradigm. J Mol Biol 293:321–331CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy and ReligionRowan UniversityGlassboroUSA

Personalised recommendations