This is a review-hypothesis paper summarizing several previously unnoticed general behavioural features (with medical implications) of proteins. These features were either discovered by the research group of my co-author, Prof.ManniLuthra-Guptasarma, from PGIMER, Chandigarh, or by my own research group. All the primary observations which have been consolidated in this paper have been separately published elsewhere, with all data and interpretations. This paper merely collates the observations and ties some of them together. One observation is that all proteins at neutral pH have a tendency to aggregate, through the bleeding of their conformational equilibria, into micro-particulate solid forms which are often of amyloid-like character, with serine residues on their surfaces colluding with other neighbouring side-chains to capture metal atoms and participate in oxidative reactions that lead to the degradation of the aggregate and perhaps of proteins in solutions in which such aggregates form. Such metal-catalyzed proteolysis on the surfaces of amyloid aggregates probably facilitates an auto-degradation mechanism for proteins, since there might not be enough regular proteases to turn over all proteins. We hypothesize that when such proteolysis occurs in the neighbourhood of cells, such as in the instance of extracellular amyloid deposits, the collateral degradation of some cell surface proteins could trigger apoptotic phenomena in neighbouring cells, resulting in spongiform encephalopathies, e.g., in the brain. Another observation, this time from my group, is that protein amyloid fibers support an interesting fluorescence phenomenon connected with delocalized electrons in peptide bonds which also support electrical conduction by such fibers. In this review-hypothesis, we point out that when amyloid fibers are laid down in electrically-active tissues such as the brain and heart, the short-circuiting of the natural electrical rhythms of these tissues by the amyloid deposits can result in arrhythmias, conduction anomalies and confusion. These are two other such observations are published in this journal called Medical Hypotheses.

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