Letter | Published:

Coding Problem in Proteins


IN a previous publication1 a hypothesis was proposed to the effect that if a nucleic acid serves as a template for the linear array of amino-acids in a protein, it prescribes only the positions to be occupied by the aromatic amino-acids in that protein. It was postulated that the planar rings of the aromatic amino-acids would be differentially bound in cavities formed by two adjacent bases in such a way that the aromatic amino-acids with only six-membered rings (group 1) would occupy the space between two pyrimidines and those with five-membered rings (group 2) would occupy that between two purines. This hypothesis imposes certain restrictions on the arrangement of these amino-acids in proteins. It requires that, sandwiched between a pair of aromatic amino-acids belonging to the same group, there will be either none or an even number of non-aromatic amino-acids, and that an odd number will separate aromatic amino-acids of different groups.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Schwartz, D., Proc. U.S. Nat. Acad. Sci., 41, 300 (1955).

  2. 2

    Sanger, F., and Thompson, E. O. P., Biochem. J., 52, iii (1952).

  3. 3

    Sanger, F., and Tuppy, H., Biochem. J., 49, 481 (1951).

  4. 4

    Bell, P. H., J. Amer. Chem. Soc., 76, 5565 (1954).

  5. 5

    Harris, J. I., and Roos, P., Nature, 178, 90 (1956).

  6. 6

    Bromer, W. W., Senn, L. G., Straub, A., and Behrens, O. K., J. Amer. Chem. Soc., 78, 3858 (1956).

  7. 7

    Elliot, D. F., and Peart, W. S., Nature, 177, 527 (1956).

  8. 8

    Hirs, C. H. W., Stein, W. H., and Moore, S., J. Biol. Chem., 221, 151 (1956).

  9. 9

    Anfinsen, C. B., and Redfield, R. R., “Adv. in Protein Chem.”, 11, 1 (1956).

  10. 10

    Hirs, C. H. W., Fed. Proc., 16, 196 (1957).

  11. 11

    Abderhalden, E., and Bahn, A., Z. physiol. Chem., 219, 72 (1933).

  12. 12

    Brenner, S., Proc. U.S. Nat. Acad. Sci., 43, 687 (1957).

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.