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a: Disulphide bond ~
b: molecular handcuffs

What: Amino acid polymers, proteins, are long stringy affairs that have complex 3-d structures. They are held together , in part, by bonding to themselves. One type of internal bond, a covalent bond, is a disulphide bond. It keeps the protein from flopping around and loosing it's shape. This is somewhat like handcuffs that keep a prisoners' arms and hands from moving around. And to push this analogy a bit, key to this lock-bond can be B-mercaptoethanol. BME , as it's known, is a powerful reducing agent that breaks the disulphide bond, opening the handcuffs as it were.

Writer: Lucretia
Date: May 6 2013 10:45 AM

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