Peptides are short chains of amino acids linked together by peptide bonds. The peptide bonds are formed when the carboxyl group of one amino acid reacts with the amino group of another. Depending on how many amino acids there are in the chain the peptides may be called something different. For example, if the chain is two amino acids long, this is referred to as a dipeptide, and a chain of three amino acids is called a tripeptide. When this chain is more than 10 amino acids long, this will then be referred to as a polypeptide. Polypeptides are long, continuous and unbranched polypeptide chains.

Proteins are constructed of one or more polypeptide chains. Each protein consists of a specific sequence of amino acids that gives the primary structure of the protein. The secondary structure of the protein is formed by the formation of hydrogen bonds between polypeptide chains. Two common examples of secondary structures are the alpha helices and the beta pleated sheets. The tertiary 3-dimensional structure is then created by protein folding resulting from bond formation, including ionic bonds and disulfide bridges, and hydrophobic and hydrophilic interactions. The tertiary structure controls the basic function of a protein.

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