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Chirality. 2006 Sep;18(9):754-6.

Ortho-para spin isomers of the protons in the methylene group--possible implications for protein structure.

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Department of Biological Chemistry, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel.


The two hydrogen atoms attached to the carbon in the methylene group are of two different spin configurations, similar to those in the case of water: ortho, where the two proton spins are parallel to each other, and para, where they are antiparallel. The ortho configuration has three degenerate states, while the para configuration is singular, leading to a statistical ratio of these isomers 3:1 ortho/para. Such spin isomers are present in glycine and most chiral amino acids where they may induce broadening of structural zones, a possibility which remains to be assessed. The implications of this neglected possibility could be far-reaching, in particular with respect to protein structure and the origins of biochirality.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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