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noun, plural: alpha helices

A right-handed coiled conformation common in many proteins in which the resulting structure resembles a spring or helix.


Proteins having an alpha helix conformation are arranged in a way that every backbone N-H group donates a hydrogen bond to the backbone C=O group of the amino acids four residues earlier, and that all side chains point towards the outside.

Related forms: Pauling-Corey-Branson alpha helix, α-helix.

Compare: beta barrel.
See also: transmembrane protein.