Concept

Alpha helix

Summary
An alpha helix (or α-helix) is a sequence of amino acids in a protein that are twisted into a coil (a helix). The alpha helix is the most common structural arrangement in the secondary structure of proteins. It is also the most extreme type of local structure, and it is the local structure that is most easily predicted from a sequence of amino acids. The alpha helix has a right hand-helix conformation in which every backbone N−H group hydrogen bonds to the backbone C=O group of the amino acid that is four residues earlier in the protein sequence. Other names The alpha helix is also commonly called a:
  • Pauling–Corey–Branson α-helix (from the names of three scientists who described its structure).
  • 3.613-helix because there are 3.6 amino acids in one ring, and there are an average of 13 residues per helical turn, with 13 atoms being involved in the ring formed by the hydrogen bond.
Discovery In the early 1930s, William Astbury showed that there were dra
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