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Are chemical messages between proteins intermolecular forces

  1. Jul 10, 2016 #1
    This question might be a stretch, but I was just reading about inter- and intra-molecular forces.

    And I found that "Intermolecular forces (IMFs) are forces of attraction or repulsion which act between neighboring particles (atoms, molecules, or ions)"

    Since proteins are complex molecules, and they constantly interact with each other and send "chemical messages" between messenger and receptor proteins, does that mean these "interactions" and "messages" would be in the weak "intermolecular forces"?

    Thanks for any thoughts!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 11, 2016 #2
    I do realize that cell signaling is actually more in the intramolecular force domain, because the molecules actually bind together when "delivering a message". So I guess that intermolecular forces are all the the forces that happen between different messenger and receptor proteins while they float around, looking for the right connection.

    Furthermore, when two proteins that are not "compatible" meet and "avoid" each other, would one say that the "repelling force" between them was driven by intramolecular force? i.e. just because they didn't bind, that doesn't necessarily mean that the force that was playing out still wasn't an intramolecular one...

    Any thoughts on this would be super appreciated!
  4. Jul 11, 2016 #3

    Fervent Freyja

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    Gold Member

    I think that the Van der Waals force is considered intermolecular and repels at such short distances. See: Van der Waals radius

    There are other ways to mathematically describe force fields that would be more up your alley, see this list.
  5. Jul 11, 2016 #4
    Great, thanks @Fervent Freyja ! Exactly what I was looking for! There are so many of them! Amazing.
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