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Towards Symmetry-Based Explanation of (Approximate) Shapes of Alpha-Helices and Beta-Sheets (and Beta-Barrels) in Protein Structure

Author(s): Jaime Nava | Vladik Kreinovich

Journal: Symmetry
ISSN 2073-8994

Volume: 4;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 15;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: symmetries | secondary protein structures | alpha-helices | beta-sheets | beta-barrels

Protein structure is invariably connected to protein function. There are two important secondary structure elements: alpha-helices and beta-sheets (which sometimes come in a shape of beta-barrels). The actual shapes of these structures can be complicated, but in the first approximation, they are usually approximated by, correspondingly, cylindrical spirals and planes (and cylinders, for beta-barrels). In this paper, following the ideas pioneered by a renowned mathematician M. Gromov, we use natural symmetries to show that, under reasonable assumptions, these geometric shapes are indeed the best approximating families for secondary structures.
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