Is [alpha]-Keratin a Coiled Coil?


Title:
Is [alpha]-Keratin a Coiled Coil?
Description:
During the 1950s Crick made important contributions not only to the study of DNA and the genetic code, but to X-ray protein structure analysis. Establishing the three-dimensional molecular structure of various proteins from X-ray diffraction patterns was a major goal, and a major challenge, for X-ray crystallographers and protein chemists at the time. Crick was instrumental in extending helical diffraction theory to construct such three-dimensional maps of protein molecules from X-ray data. In this paper, he proposes a brilliant simplification by which alpha keratin, the prototypical fibrous protein of which nails and hair are made, could be shown to consist of two Pauling-Corey alpha helixes, slightly deformed and coiling around one another, with the amino acid protrusions from one helix fitting into corresponding holes in the other. The bending, or deformation, in the axis of each alpha helix meant that it was twisted into a higher-order, larger helix. Crick went on to calculate the complicated X-ray diffraction pattern such a super helix, or coiled coil, would produce.
Extent:
2 pages
Date Issued:
22 November 1952
Creator:
Crick, Francis, 1916-2004
Source:
Periodical. Crick, Francis. "Is [alpha]-Keratin a Coiled Coil?" Nature 170, 4334 (22 November 1952): 882-883. Article. 2 Images.. Nature
Periodical:
Nature
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
Right Type:
Permission Granted - No Conditions
Right Statement:
Reproduced with permission of the Nature Publishing Group. and http://www.nature.com/nature/
Profiles in Science ID:
SCBBYV
NLM ID:
101584582X380
Genre:
Articles
Language:
English
Format:
Text