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. 1967 Mar;7(2):121-35.
doi: 10.1016/S0006-3495(67)86579-2.

Use of Helical Wheels to Represent the Structures of Proteins and to Identify Segments With Helical Potential

Free PMC article

Use of Helical Wheels to Represent the Structures of Proteins and to Identify Segments With Helical Potential

M Schiffer et al. Biophys J. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

The three-dimensional structures of alpha-helices can be represented by two-dimensional projections which we call helical wheels. Initially, the wheels were employed as graphical restatements of the known structures determined by Kendrew, Perutz, Watson, and their colleagues at the University of Cambridge and by Phillips and his coworkers at The Royal Institution. The characteristics of the helices, discussed by Perutz et al. (1965), and Blake et al. (1965), can be readily visualized by examination of these wheels. For example, the projections for most helical segments of myoglobin, hemoglobin, and lysozyme have distinctive hydrophobic arcs. Moreover, the hydrophobic residues tend to be clustered in the n +/- 3, n, n +/- 4 positions of adjacent helical turns. Such hydrophobic arcs are not observed when the sequences of nonhelical segments are plotted on the wheels. Since the features of these projections are also distinctive, however, the wheels can be used to divide sequences into segments with either helical or nonhelical potential. The sequences of insulin, cytochrome c, ribonuclease A, chymotrypsinogen A, tobacco mosaic virus protein, and human growth hormone were chosen for application of the wheels for this purpose.

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