Illustrated Glossary of Organic Chemistry

Motif: In DNA and RNA a pattern formed by a repeated nucleoside or nucleotide sequence (i.e., in the primary structure). In peptides and proteins a pattern formed by a repeated sequence of amino acids (i.e., in the primary structure), or in the spatial arrangement of the atoms (i.e., in the secondary structure). Taken from visual arts such as architecture, where the term refers to a repeated pattern such as doors or arches.

The α-helix and β-sheet are common motifs in protein structure.

Stacked arches --->

The stacked arch is visual motif on the south face of UCLA's Royce Hall.