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Protein structure drawing method

  1. Aug 30, 2011 #1
    Protein structure drawing method

    I want to know the proper name given to this particular method of drawing proteins, RNA and Genes. I have two examples;

    If you look at the Wikipedia page for tRNA, they show the Tertiary structure of tRNA like this;



    But they also show this particular type of secondary tRNA structure;


    I personally describe this method as flattening out the structure so we can see the exact amino acid sequence more clearly. Wikipedia describes this structure for tRNA as the "Secondary cloverleaf structure". But they only say that because tRNA looks like a three leaf clover when you flatten it out like that. Other proteins and stuff take on very different patterns when you flatten them out!

    The same flattening method is used here for the Gene HAR1F;

    I want to know what is the proper name given to this flattening method of drawing proteins, amino acids and genes?

    Last edited: Aug 30, 2011
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 30, 2011 #2


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    I don't know if there's a specific name, but it'd call it a secondary structure diagram. These types of images are meant to represent the secondary structure (e.g. the base pairing for RNAs or the alpha-helices/beta-sheets for proteins), but do not accurately represent the tertiary structure (the overall 3D folding) of the molecules.
  4. Aug 30, 2011 #3
    Thanks Ygggdrasil,
    So your not aware of any specific name given to this particular drawing method other than just "secondary structure" or maybe "flattened secondary structure" or maybe "2D secondary structure".

    OK, Thank you,
  5. Aug 31, 2011 #4
    For nucleic acids (especially RNA), I've heard them referred to as stem-loop diagrams.

    For proteins, it's usually just "secondary structure diagram" in my experience.
  6. Aug 31, 2011 #5
    Thanks Mike,
    Yes, that seems to be the case here. People just seem to be referring to these drawings as secondary structure.

    These drawings are beautiful, they have an hypnotic effect on my mind. Some of them become very large and very complex. But the more complex they get, the more beautiful they look. The look like street maps for living things! stunning!! Shockingly beautiful! It reminds me of the London underground maps :)

    16S rRNA Secondary Structure


    Last edited: Aug 31, 2011
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