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Music and Graphics of Proteins

The following program has been designed to associate a list of notes to amino acids in a protein using a logical ordering system in the scale of C Minor. Two parallel scales are employed. The polar amino acids are assigned notes of increasing pitch on the basis of increasing molecular complexity of their side chains. The same scale is assigned to the nonpolar amino acids using the same ordering system, but the notes are assigned a different duration and slightly different tonal quality. The polarity of a molecule is one characteristic used in biochemistry to classify the properties of amino acids. It would be possible to assign notes on the basis of other biochemical properties of amino acids as well. Since the chemical properties of the amino acids and their interactions determine the structure and function of a protein, an association between chemical characteristics and notes may result in music that reflects these attributes. The goal is to have the characteristics of the sounds correspond as much as possible to the characteristics of the amino acids so that their patterns within the molecule may be apparent in the musical combinations of their sounds. Click on the graphic to hear the generated song.

You can generate and play your own protein at this Mathematica Server Page (MSP).

The sequence of notes produced by the previous program can also be plotted graphically. This program plots the notes played using the same ordering system and distinguishes between the polar and nonpolar amino acids.

A pseudo-random list of amino acids can be created to be used as the input for the previous music and graphic programs. In this way, the primary sequence of proteins can be compared to pseudo-random lists of amino acids. Click on the graphic to hear the generated song.


Copyright © 2001 Wolfram Media, Inc. All rights reserved.

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