Letter | Published:

Coding Problem in Proteins

Abstract

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.

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