Ramachandran plot

Ramachandran Plot

Ramachandran plot

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Introduction and early history

A Ramachandran plot (also known as a Ramachandran diagram or a plot), originally developed in 1963 by G. N. Ramachandran C. Ramakrishnan and V. Sasisekharan, is a way to visualize backbone dihedral angles ψ against φ of amino acid residues in protein structure.The figure at left illustrates the definition of the φ and ψ backbone dihedral angles (called φ and φ' by Ramachandran). The ω angle at the peptide bond is normally 180°, since the partial-double-bond character keeps the peptide planar. The figure at top right shows the allowed φ,ψ backbone conformational regions from the Ramachandran et al. 1963 and 1968 hard-sphere calculations: full radius in solid outline, reduced radius in dashed, and relaxed tau (N-Calpha-C) angle in dotted lines.Because dihedral angle values are circular and 0° is the same as 360°, the edges of the Ramachandran plot "wrap" right-to-left and bottom-to-top. For instance, the small strip of allowed values along the lower-left edge of the plot are a continuation of the large, extended-chain region at upper left.


A Ramachandran plot can be used in two somewhat different ways. One is to show in theory which values, or conformations, of the ψ and φ angles are possible for an amino-acid residue in a protein (as at top right). A second is to show the empirical distribution of datapoints observed in a single structure (as at right, here) in usage for structure validation, or else in a...
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