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Protein folding

Protein folding is the physical process by which a protein chain is translated to its native three-dimensional structure, typically a "folded" conformation by which the protein becomes biologically functional. Via an expeditious and reproducible process, a polypeptide folds into its characteristic three-dimensional structure from a random coil. Each protein exists first as an unfolded polypeptide or random coil after being translated from a sequence of mRNA to a linear chain of amino acids. At this stage the polypeptide lacks any stable (long-lasting) three-dimensional structure (the left hand side of the first figure). As the polypeptide chain is being synthesized by a ribosome, the linear chain begins to fold into its three-dimensional structure.

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