quaternary structure

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qua·ter·nar·y struc·ture

the three-dimensional arrangement and constitution of a multimeric (that is, containing more than one biopolymer) macromolecule; for example, the α2β2 tetramer of hemoglobin A.

quaternary structure

The three-dimensional arrangement of the macromolecules making up a functional unit, such as that formed by four globin protein molecules to make hemoglobin or by histones interacting with DNA to make a nucleosome.


1. fourth in a series.
2. made up of four elements or groups.

quaternary ammonium compounds
synthetic cationic detergents commonly used as disinfectants. They act against cell wall lipids in bacteria. An example is benzalkonium chloride. Effective in teat dips for mastitis control. Called also QUATs.
quaternary structure
the arrangement of separate polypeptide subunits in the structure of a multimeric protein.
References in periodicals archive ?
TEM can provide two-dimensional images and three-dimensional reconstructions of biological materials with nanometer-scale resolution, sufficient to resolve the tertiary and quaternary structure of proteins and essential features of other macromolecules and molecular complexes," said Matthew Harris, vice president and general manager of FEI's Life Sciences Division.
The pace of such work has definitely speeded up over the years, from the time when it took Max Perutz 30 years to work out the structure of hemoglobin, a protein with a quaternary structure (Ferry, 2007).
The CD results showing no helix implies the absence of coiled-coils because such a quaternary structure requires association of slightly left-hand-twisted helices of 3.