Basic Principles of Chemistry that Drive Protein Folding
Proteins are large molecules that are synthesized in the polar, watery environment of the cell. They are made by joining amino acids together in a particular sequence. Because each of the 20 amino acids is different in shape and chemical property, proteins fold up into different three-dimensional shapes following basic principles of chemistry.
The Amino Acid Starter Kit introduced you to several of these basic principles of chemistry. This Jmol tutorial will allow you to determine how accurately a real protein, ß-globin, reflects these concepts in its final, folded structure.
Are the sidechains of the charged amino acids exposed on the surface of ß-globin?
Rotate this final image to examine closely how the positively- and negatively-charged amino acid sidechains are positioned in this protein.
Are the negatively-charged sidechains paired up with positively-charged sidechains?
In summary, while both of these basic principles of chemistry are reflected in the final folded shape of ß-globin, there are exceptions. Often the exceptions are important and suggest something about the function of the protein.
Now go to the second part of this Jmol Tutorial and examine five other proteins to see how well they reflect these basic principles of chemistry.
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