Michel Planat, Raymond Aschheim, Marcelo Amaral, Fang Fang, Klee Irwin  (2021)

Every protein consists of a linear sequence over an alphabet of 20 letters/amino acids. The sequence unfolds in the 3-dimensional space through secondary (local foldings), tertiary (bonds) and quaternary (disjoint multiple) structures. The mere existence of the genetic code for the 20 letters of the linear chain could be predicted with the (informationally complete) irreducible characters of the finite group Gn:=Zn⋊2O (with n=5 or 7 and 2O the binary octahedral group) in our previous two papers. It turns out that some quaternary structures of protein complexes display n-fold symmetries. We propose an approach of secondary structures based on free group theory. Our results are compared to other approaches of predicting secondary structures of proteins in terms of α helices, β sheets and coils, or more refined techniques. It is shown that the secondary structure of proteins shows similarities to the structure of some hyperbolic 3-manifolds. The hyperbolic 3-manifold of smallest volume –Gieseking manifold–, some other 3 manifolds and Grothendieck’s cartographic group are singled out as tentative models of such secondary structures. For the quaternary structure, there are links to the Kummer surface.