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If you were to take the mirror image of oxytocin, does it remain the same or does it change? Say I want a tattoo of it on the left side of my chest, going from the widest part of oxytocin to the smallest part, but it won't fit the way it is depicted below.

enter image description here

Would it still be correct or does something need to be changed? I can just get it on the opposite side but I'd like to know the chemistry of this.

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  • $\begingroup$ Hello and welcome to Chemistry.SE! I suggest you take the short tour to better familiarize yourself with this site. This is an interesting and valid question. Many molecules, including oxytocin, have conformations such that their mirror image is not quite the same thing as the non-mirrored image. I don't know if that information alone helps you or not. Basically if you have an image of the molecule, the tattoo should look the same if you hold the image next to it, or if you laid it over the tattoo everything should match up identically. But not if you flip it over 180 degrees. Good luck! $\endgroup$ – airhuff Feb 18 '17 at 19:17
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Oxytocin is composed of $\alpha$-amino acids, which with the exception of one (glycine), are all chiral. A chiral molecule's mirror image is called its enatiomer, and has identical chemical properties except in the presence of other chiral molecules, i.e. in the body. This means enantiomer of oxytocin does not have the same biochemical activity as oxytocin, so you were wise to question whether or not this would be the same molecule. In addition to flipping the molecule, you need to change the wedges to dashes and dashes to wedges for it to still be the same molecule:

oxytocin

still oxytocin

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  • $\begingroup$ Where did you find the mirror image? $\endgroup$ – Mockingbird Feb 19 '17 at 0:49
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    $\begingroup$ It's not the mirror image, it is the same molecule viewed from the other side. I drew it myself. $\endgroup$ – ringo Feb 19 '17 at 0:50
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    $\begingroup$ Both are oxytocin. One is the front of the molecule, and the other is the back. $\endgroup$ – ringo Feb 19 '17 at 1:52

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