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Korean team finds new protein structure

Posted February. 01, 2001 19:35,   


On Thursday, a team led by professor Kim Kwang Soo of Pohang University of Science and Technology found through trial testing done on computer that protein amino acids can be twisted into a helical form. Prominent U.S. chemical publisher Journal of American Chemical Science (JACS) announced the discovery.

Protein is a living entity that has a three-dimensional form made up of tens and hundreds of amino acid links. Until now, amino acid chains were only in an alpha structure, which is twisted to the right, or a beta structure, which looks like a screen.

Researchers found out through computer trial testing that when the ends of an amino acid molecule called alanin are linked into a chain of 15 and a charge is given to the ends, the form twists to the left. This form was designated as the lambda helical structure.

Professor Kim is currently examining whether this structure exists within the human body. In the event such a structure exists, life biology textbooks will be rewritten.

Kang Seok-Ki alchimiste@donga.com