Is [alpha]-Keratin a Coiled Coil?


Title:
Is [alpha]-Keratin a Coiled Coil?
Creator:
Crick, Francis, 1916-2004
Date:
22 November 1952
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.
Periodical:
Nature
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
Rights:
Reproduced with permission of the Nature Publishing Group. and http://www.nature.com/nature/
Genre:
Articles
Format:
Text
Extent:
2 pages
Language:
English
Legacy Source Citation:
Periodical. Crick, Francis. "Is [alpha]-Keratin a Coiled Coil?" Nature 170, 4334 (22 November 1952): 882-883. Article. 2 Images.. Nature
Legacy ID:
SCBBYV
NLM ID:
101584582X380
Profiles Collection:
The Francis Crick Papers
Story Section:
The Discovery of the Double Helix, 1951-1953