Protein folding in living cells
Biomolecular function, in particular protein folding has been predominantly investigated in vitro in aqueous solution, despite cellular conditions are significantly different. Macromolecular crowding alters cellular protein folding dynamics and stability. Further, the high spatial heterogeneity inside living cells causes folding dynamics to vary with cytoplasmic localization and challenges proper folding into native structures throughout the cell. Misfolded proteins in particular in neuronal cells are known to cause severe illnesses e.g. Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases.