Molecular Life Sciences

Living Edition
| Editors: Robert D. Wells, Judith S. Bond, Judith Klinman, Bettie Sue Siler Masters, Ellis Bell

Primary Structure

  • Scott Cooper
  • Anton Sanderfoot
Living reference work entry


The primary structure of a protein is also its amino acid sequence. This information determines the ultimate structure and function of a protein.


Proteins are made of chains of amino acids joined through peptide bonds forming the primary sequence of the protein. The primary amino acid sequence of a protein determines the three-dimensional structure that the protein will fold into. In addition, scientists can use the primary sequence to identify many functional attributes a protein will have, such as enzyme active sites, ligand and metal binding sites, motifs, and domains. Finally, protein sequences are used to study protein families within a species and taxonomic relationships between species. Because of this, several methods have been developed to determine the primary sequence of a protein, both from the amino acid sequence itself and from the gene or mRNA that encodes the protein.

Primary Structure of Proteins

Amino acids have a carboxylic acid (COOH) at one...


Amino Acid Sequence Carboxylic Acid Primary Sequence Primary Structure Peptide Bond 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity Wisconsin – La CrosseLa CrosseUSA