Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

Living Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James Cleaves, Daniele Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Michel Viso

Proteins, Tertiary Structure

  • Henderson James (Jim) CleavesIIEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27833-4_1573-4


In biochemistry, the tertiary structure of a protein is its three-dimensional structure, as defined by the atomic coordinates. Tertiary structure is largely determined by the protein’s primary structure. The environment in which a protein is synthesized and allowed to fold is a significant determinant of a polypeptides final folded conformation. In globular proteins, tertiary structure is often stabilized by the sequestration of hydrophobic amino acid residues in the protein’s interior, from which water is excluded, and by the exposure of charged or hydrophilic residues on the protein’s cytosol-exposed surface.

See Also


Amino Acid Residue Bioorganic Chemistry Primary Structure Tertiary Structure Significant Determinant 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Geophysical LaboratoryCarnegie Institution of WashingtonWashingtonUSA