Biology as Poetry: Biochemistry

Bacteriophage Ecology Group

Protein Folding

Immediately post translational conversion of a linear chain of amino acids to the proper or functional end conformation, involving substantial exploration of numerous intramolecular interactions.

Intervening in the transition from genotype to phenotype is the question of how linear information is converted to three-dimensional, especially protein shapes. The process involves enormous amounts of exploration of protein secondary and tertiary structures before an energetic minimum is located, which, ideally, represents the functional, properly folded protein.

For many years prediction of protein folding has been the holy grail of molecular biology/biochemistry. It still requires, when possible, substantial amounts of computer processing power to accomplish this goal. Nevertheless, many concepts have been discovered that can serve as rules of thumb towards conceptualizing this process. Minimally, it should always be kept in mind that the steps involved, ultimately, are a function of a protein's primary structure.

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