polypeptide folded as an alpha helix

(above) alpha helix #1.

protein folding: polypeptide coiled into an alpha helix (α helix)
  • grey = carbon (C)
  • blue = nitrogen (N)
  • red = oxygen (O)
  • white = hydrogen (H)
  • yellow = generic side chain

Proteins consist of long chains (polymers) of amino acids. As they are produced (by protein synthesis), proteins fold up in complex ways. A standard form of folding is called an alpha helix and many proteins have segments composed of α-helices. This image shows a perspective view down a coiled polypeptide molecule. The side chains are represented by generic yellow ovoids projecting from the chain. See the animation of this protein folding.

Original is 4096 pixels across.

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