Linus Pauling won the 1954 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his description of the chemical bond that holds protein molecules together. Now an undergraduate researcher at Oregon State University where Pauling did his own undergrad work, is prompting scientists to take a hard look at that model. Pauling described the connection between protein building blocks, known as the peptide bond, as an arrangement of six atoms that essentially are all on the same plane. It was ground breaking insight that helped launch the field of molecular biology and has shaped scientific understanding of protein structure for the past six decades.
But Justin Biel, working with professor Andy Karplus, analyzed information from a databank of protein structures and found a large number of proteins that deviated from Pauling’s planar model. (Read more)