Noncovalent Forces Determining Protein Structure
Noncovalent forces were discovered by van der Waals (1873) in an attempt to explain the deviation of a real gas from the ideal gas law. They are of utmost importance for biological organisms. In particular, they drive the spontaneous folding of polypeptide and nucleic acid chains and the spontaneous formation of membranes. They mediate the mutual recognition of complementary molecular surfaces (“lock and key system” (44)).
KeywordsPacking Density Polypeptide Chain Salt Bridge Partial Charge Dispersion Force
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