A Musical Introduction to Protein Structure

Strangely beautiful music

The twenty amino acids can be assigned to a musical scale. A number of different criteria can be used in selecting pitches to represent the amino acids, for example the amino acids can be ordered by their relative hydrophobocity. The duration of each note varies with the number of DNA codons associated with the amino acid.

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Assigning pitches to amino acids allows us to play the tune generated by the sequence of amino acids in a polypeptide.

Click the links on the page to hear the primary, secondary and tertiary structures of calmodulin (a calcium-binding protein).

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Calmodulin (tertiary structure) – sequence
played from lime-green (upper right)
to blue helix (lower left).

One of the most fascinating pages I’ve visited!

Ever wondered what nitrogen fixing bacteria or tapeworm DNA sounds like? More music from DNA (by John Dunn and K. W. Bridges) can be heard at “Inflections”.