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shape. “Conformation” is often used to refer to one of several alternative shapes a protein can take. So, for example, a protein might exist in one shape when it’s not bound to a partner and then, upon binding to a partner it can undergo a conformational change (maybe clamping around the partner). Some proteins have “active” conformations where they’re ready to go perform whatever task they’re tasked with and “inactive” conformations, where they’re temporarily on hold. Sometimes conformational changes are regulated by phosphorylation (addition of a phopshoryl group) – the added negative charge can change can charge-charge interact with nearby amino acids (protein letters) causing the protein to have to shape-shift in order to get more comfy.