Definition of tertiary structure in US English:

tertiary structure


  • The overall three-dimensional structure resulting from folding and covalent cross-linking of a protein or polynucleotide molecule.

    • ‘Many proteins contain 2 or more different polypeptide chains that are held in association by the same non-covalent forces that stabilize the tertiary structures of proteins.’
    • ‘Recently, Tsai et al. have described the folding complexity of a protein in terms of the arrangement of the building blocks in the protein tertiary structure.’
    • ‘It has been noted that the tight backbone-to-backbone packing is important for the stabilization of the tertiary structure of membrane proteins.’
    • ‘The two enzymes have high sequence identity and their tertiary structures are very similar.’
    • ‘Generally, primary structural similarity correlates well with the tertiary structure, and if proteins are truly homologous, then they are likely to have very similar three-dimensional structures.’