Just as nucleic acids form various structures via intra- and intermolecular base pairing, proteins also assume various structures depending on the types and locations of amino acids. The primary structure of a protein is the sequence of amino acids from amino terminus (NH) to carboxy terminus (COOH) of the protein. The secondary structure refers to how amino acid groups interact with neighboring amino acids to form structure called an alpha helix or beta sheet. The tertiary structure of a protein is created by amino acids sequentially distant from one another creating intramolecular interactions. The quaternary structure of a protein defines the three-dimensional and functional conformation of the protein. The shape that is ultimately assumed by the protein depends on the arrangement of the different charged, uncharged, polar, and nonpolar amino acids.
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