Date of Award

4-29-2008

Degree Type

Thesis

Abstract

Proteins play an essential role in every biological function; without them, life would cease to exist. Not only do proteins play an important role in chemical reactions, but they serve as key structural elements as well. These macromolecules are comprised of a "string" of individual units called amino acids, each of which has its own unique side chain, allowing for an enormous amount of variation in structure and function. The interaction of an individual amino acid's side chain with surrounding side chains and the environment cause the amino acid "string" to coil and fold into a unique three-dimensional structure which ultimately determines the function of the protein.