protein structure

Cultural Dictionary

protein structure definition


The three-dimensional structure of a protein that is often key to its enzyme function. The structure of a protein is characterized in four ways: The primary structure is the order of the different amino acids in a protein chain, whereas the secondary structure consists of the geometry of chain segments in forms such as helices or sheets. The tertiary structure describes how a protein folds in on itself; the quaternary structure of a protein describes how different protein chains hook up with each other.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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