The sonification of Protein

(Immunoglobulin fold)

"Life Music" could be mistaken as another irritating living-room music buzzword, but it's all about protein, and I love protein, so there's no arguing with the depth there. The page linked above is a bit wordy. Dunn likes words. But most of them are good, so it's alright.

Anyway, so they've taken amino acid sequences and created "aesthetically interesting and biologically informative" musical combinations. What a warming turn of phrase. More specifically: they took the secondary structure of proteins: the simple folding patterns that are combined to produce the overall tertiary structure of a protein. There are 3 secondary patterns: alpha-helix, beta-strand, and turns.

I'm pretty fond of the immunoglobulin folds protein architecture category, myself.

Anyway, fixed pitches are set according to the amino acid's water solubility (insoluble = lowest octave) Pitches range over three octaves in the diatonic scale, two octaves for a chromatic scale, and about four for pentatonic and whole-tone scales.

"As the linear sequence winds in and out of the interior of the protein, we hear counter-melodies in the music: one in the lower register representing the interior water-insoluble amino acids, and another in the upper register representing the more soluble ones arranged at the protein-water interface: our linear sequences were playing two and sometimes three parallel and slightly offset tunes."

Some proteins are schizophrenic (watch out for lysozyme C), leading to yet more intriguing sounds.

Listen to your inner self here and reveal your inner self here.


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