Quaternary Protein Structure

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Summary

The quaternary structure of proteins is the highest level of protein structure, and refers to the interactions between separate proteins to form a multiprotein complex. 

Key Points

  • Quaternary Structure
    • Interactions between separate proteins to form a multiprotein complex
    • Involves the same forces as tertiary structures
      • Interactions with water, hydrogen bonding, electrostatic interactions, van der Waals forces, and disulfide bonds


Example

One common example of quaternary structure is the bringing together of 4 globin proteins in hemoglobin. These 4 globin molecules and heme come together to form a single multi-protein complex called hemoglobin, which plays a key role in carrying oxygen in our blood.