Guide to Understanding PDB Data: Hierarchical Structure
Atomic representations are shown at left, and cartoon representations are shown at left. Alpha helices form spring-shaped structures with each amino acid forming a hydrogen bond with an amino acid further down the chain. Beta strands are extended regions of the chain that form hydrogen bonds with neighboring beta strands, forming a beta sheet. In this structure, four beta strands form the sheet with neighboring strands running in opposite directions, as shown by the cartoon arrows. Note that in these illustrations, side chains are not shown on each amino acid, to make it easier to see the backbone structure. Structures taken from PDB ID 1ic2 and 4gcr.
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