Since proteins are dynamic in nature, they can alter their local structure in response to changes in their environment factors such as temperature, pH, phosphorylation, and binding of other small molecules. These conformational changes are extremely important for the correct folding and functioning of proteins. There are also a number of diseases associated with protein conformational change such as amyloid diseases. To stimulate research into the above factors which specify one conformation over another, different theoretical models have been proposed and tested against sequence similar distant structure protein fragments. In order to simplify the computational complexity of identifying conformational changes in proteins, various local sequence search algorithms were employed and the structural plasticity in unrelated proteins was examined by various research groups. In the present work, we revisit the mechanism of structural plasticity in unrelated proteins with increased number of structures in Protein Data Bank by comparing identical octapeptides in unrelated proteins with dictionary of protein secondary structure extracted from existing experimental data. Our goal is to bring out the influence of hydrophobic residues, hydrophilic residues, flanking residues, difference in secondary structural propensities of surrounding residues, difference in phi-psi angles and local and nonlocal interactions in identical octapeptides adopting different conformations. Also we have used surrounding hydrophobicity, environment dependent interaction energy, atomic mean force potential, structural unit contacts and difference profiles models to explore the factors which cause structural plasticity. The results discussed here may provide insights into protein folding, design and function. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Biopolymers (Pept Sci) 98: 11–26, 2012.