Background: Intrinsically disordered proteins lack stable structure under physiological conditions, yet carry out many crucial biological functions, especially functions associated with regulation, recognition, signaling and control. Recently, human genetic diseases and related genes were organized into a bipartite graph (Goh KI, Cusick ME, Valle D, Childs B, Vidal M, et al. (2007) The human disease network. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 104: 8685-8690). This diseasome network revealed several significant features such as the common genetic origin of many diseases. Methods and findings: We analyzed the abundance of intrinsic disorder in these diseasome network proteins by means of several prediction algorithms, and we analyzed the functional repertoires of these proteins based on prior studies relating disorder to function. Our analyses revealed that (i) Intrinsic disorder is common in proteins associated with many human genetic diseases; (ii) Different disease classes vary in the IDP contents of their associated proteins; (iii) Molecular recognition features, which are relatively short loosely structured protein regions within mostly disordered sequences and which gain structure upon binding to partners, are common in the diseasome, and their abundance correlates with the intrinsic disorder level; (iv) Some disease classes have a significant fraction of genes affected by alternative splicing, and the alternatively spliced regions in the corresponding proteins are predicted to be highly disordered; and (v) Correlations were found among the various diseasome graph-related properties and intrinsic disorder. Conclusion: These observations provide the basis for the construction of the human-genetic-disease-associated unfoldome.
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