Conformational change is an alteration to the shape of macromolecule due to changes in external or environmental factors.
Macromolecules are flexible thus it can change its shape in response to different factors.
The most common example of conformational change would be with proteins and cell signalling. G-protein coupled receptors and their associated G-proteins use conformational change to transduce extracellular signals, whilst enzymes use conformational change to catalyse many reactions. Conformational change is an essential part of protein function.
Typical Factors that could induce conformational change:
- pH value
- Presence of substrate/inhibitor/ligand (especially in enzyme)
- ↑ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conformational_change
- ↑ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12081470