Quaternary Structure of Proteins

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Chapter: Biochemistry : Structure of Proteins

Many proteins consist of a single polypeptide chain and are defined as monomeric proteins. However, others may consist of two or more polypeptide chains that may be structurally identical or totally unrelated.


QUATERNARY STRUCTURE OF PROTEINS

Many proteins consist of a single polypeptide chain and are defined as monomeric proteins. However, others may consist of two or more polypeptide chains that may be structurally identical or totally unrelated. The arrangement of these polypeptide subunits is called the quaternary structure of the protein. Subunits are held together primarily by noncovalent interactions (for example, hydrogen bonds, ionic bonds, and hydrophobic interactions). Subunits may either function independently of each other or may work cooperatively, as in hemoglobin, in which the binding of oxygen to one subunit of the tetramer increases the affinity of the other subunits for oxygen.

 

Isoforms are proteins that perform the same function but have different primary structures. They can arise from different genes or from tissue-specific processing of the product of a single gene. If the proteins function as enzymes, they are referred to as isozymes.

 

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