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I had always assumed that protein folding is an independent activity that occurs after translation is complete. However, recently, I learned that intermolecular forces begin shaping the peptide bonds as they exit the ribosome, while translation is still occuring.

This leads me to ask: when do the "stages" of protein folding take place? What is a general "timeline" for protein folding? For example, when do secondary and tertiary structures begin forming? Or, when do things like chaperones bind and act?

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Folding starts as soon as the protein starts being translated and actually, the ribosome affects the folding of the protein.

You can read more here.

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