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Moonlighting proteins comprise a class of multifunctional proteins in which a single protein performs multiple biochemical functions that are not due to gene fusions, multiple RNA splice variants, or pleiotropic effects. Over 200 proteins have been found to moonlight, and it is possible that many other proteins also have additional functions that have not yet been found. The known examples of moonlighting proteins include diverse types of proteins, including receptors, enzymes, transcription factors, adhesins and scaffolds, and different combinations of functions are observed. Moonlighting proteins are expressed in many species and cell types and function in many different biochemical pathways, and information about their structures and functions is scattered in many publications.

We have constructed the manually curated, searchable, internet-based MoonProt Database with information about the proteins that have been experimentally verified to be moonlighting proteins. The availability of this organized information provides a more complete picture of what is currently known about moonlighting proteins. The database will also aid researchers in other fields, for example, in determining the functions of genes identified in genome sequencing projects, interpreting data from proteomics projects, and annotating protein sequence and structural databases. In addition, information about the structures and functions of moonlighting proteins can be helpful in understanding how novel protein functional sites evolved on an ancient protein scaffold, which can also help in the design of proteins with novel functions.

Jeffery Lab
University of Illinois at Chicago
MBRB Rm. 4260