Beta hairpin

Beta hairpin

The beta hairpin (or beta-beta unit) structural motif is the simplest protein motif involving two beta strands that look like a hairpin. The motif consists of two strands that are adjacent in primary structure oriented in an antiparallel arrangement (where the N-terminus of one sheet is adjacent to the C-terminus of the next) and linked by a short loop of two to five amino acids. Beta hairpins can occur in isolation or as part of a series of hydrogen bonded strands that collectively comprise a beta sheet.

Researchers such as Francisco Blanco et al. have used protein NMR to show that beta-hairpins can be formed from isolated short peptides in aqueous solution, suggesting that hairpins could form nucleation sites for protein folding. Blanco FJ, Rivas G, Serrano L. (1994). A short linear peptide that folds into a native stable beta-hairpin in aqueous solution. "Nat Struct Biol" 1(9):584-90. PMID 7634098 ]


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