Encyclopedia of Biophysics

2013 Edition
| Editors: Gordon C. K. Roberts

Oligomeric Proteins

  • Richard C. GarrattEmail author
  • Napoleão Fonseca Valadares
  • José Fernando Ruggiero Bachega
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-16712-6_416

Synonyms

Definition

Oligomeric proteins are those composed of more than one subunit (polypeptide chain).

Introduction

Oligomeric proteins, by definition, are composed of more than one subunit (polypeptide chain). As such, they possess a quaternary structure, generally considered to be the highest level of organization within the protein structural hierarchy. This describes the way in which the various subunits are arranged one with respect to another. Oligomeric proteins may be composed either exclusively of several copies of identical polypeptide chains, in which case they are termed homo-oligomers, or alternatively by at least one copy of different polypeptide chains (hetero-oligomers).

Oligomerization is the norm rather than the exception and one estimate for proteins from Escherichia coli puts the percentage of monomeric proteins as low as 20% (Goodsell and Olsen 2000). Of the remaining 80% of proteins which possess two or more...

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Copyright information

© European Biophysical Societies' Association (EBSA) 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard C. Garratt
    • 1
    Email author
  • Napoleão Fonseca Valadares
    • 1
  • José Fernando Ruggiero Bachega
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Physics of Sao Carlos, University of Sao PauloSão Carlos-SPBrazil