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Structure of Proteins - Paper Example

2 pages
470 words
University of Richmond
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Proteins structure is composed of specific peptides bonds to form a more complex structure of polypeptide chain. In most cases, folding will always occur spontaneously. It is important to note that a portion of polypeptide chains holds proteins structures together. In general, four levels of protein structures exist which is distinguished by a degree of complexity in the polypeptide chains. The paper summarizes a deeper understanding of various levels of protein structure.

Primary structure

It is the first level of protein structure, and it gives a unique description of order on the linkage of different amino acids that naturally occur. In this level, 20-well-known amino acids bounded by a carboxyl group, hydrogen atom, and the amino groups form the structure of a protein (Bailey, 2017). The R-groups used to help determine the difference that exists between protein monomers.

Secondary Structure

Also known as the folding polypeptide and has a 3-D-shape. There are only two observable secondary structures the alpha (a) and the helix structures. It appears a coiled spring held together by the hydrogen bonds (Berezovsky et al., 2017). Beta (b)-plated sheet is the second secondary structure that is held by hydrogen bonds between the closely adjacent polypeptides chain

Tertiary Structure

This is also known as an overall 3-D-polypeptide structure. The forces and bonds that hold proteins together in this structure include hydrophobic interactions that contributed to how the shaping and folding occurs. According to McGuire, & Ness, (2014), Hydrogen bonding occurs between the amino acid R to bring hydrophobic interactions to help stabilize the protein structure. The other type of bonding is the ionic bonding. It occurs due to opposite charges R that comes in close contacts and is an assisted by van der Waals forces to help hold proteins together.

Quaternary Structure

Also known as the macromolecular protein -structure occurring as a result of relations between different multiple- polypeptide chain (Saberi Fathi, 2016). In this level, proteins are composed of sub-units that play a specific role towards achieving stabilization of the structure, for instance, the hemoglobin that is an iron-containing protein and found in blood to help in the binding of oxygen.

In conclusion, to understand how proteins work, one has to understand the four levels of protein. Notably, it is much easier to determine the protein sequence generation than to determine the protein structure. Every level of the protein structure is unique in the appearance and chemical composition.


Bailey, R,(2017). Learn About the 4 Types of Protein Structure

Retrieved from

Berezovsky, I. N., Guarnera, E., & Zheng, Z. (2017). Basic units of protein structure, folding, and function. Progress In Biophysics And Molecular Biology,

McGuire, S. P., & Ness, B. P. (2014). Protein structure. Salem Press Encyclopedia Of Health,

Saberi Fathi, S. (2016). A new definition and properties of the similarity value between two protein structures. Journal Of Biological Physics, 42(4), 621-636. doi:10.1007/s10867-016-9429-0

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