The Most Interesting Topic in Existence: Protein By Jordan cooley

What is Protein?

Proteins in macromolecules are polymers, or substances that consist of a great amount of similar units bonded together. Nucleic acids are polymers, too! These "similar units" in proteins are called amino acids - organic compounds that contain amine and carboxyl functional groups (National Diagnostics). According to cK-12, "There are 20 different amino acids commonly found in the proteins of living organisms" (cK-12). When these amino acids bind together, they will form a quite long polypeptide. One or more of the long polypeptide chains make up a protein.

The Four Levels of Protein - picture from cK-12

There four levels included in protein - the primary protein structure, the secondary protein structure, the tertiary protein structure, and the quarternary protein structure. The primary protein structure, as you can see in the visual above, is simply the chain sequence of amino acids. The secondary protein structure is formed when the sequence of amino acids are connected by hydrogen bonds. The tertiary protein structure forms when, according to cK-12, "certain attractions are present between alpha helices and pleated sheets." Last, the quarternary protein structure is the final product of protein, which contains one or more chain(s) of amino acids (cK-12).

Who Discovered Protein?

Linus Pauling

Protein was discovered by Linus Pauling in the 1950's. Pauling contributed to Watson and Crick's discovery of the "double helix" DNA structure by discovering protein and its structure.

What Do Proteins Do For Your Body?

Proteins provide structure and stability in your body. Proteins will transport substances from one cell to another, and are grouped together to form muscles. Proteins are essential because the transportation of substances and muscles are the main causes of our ability to move. Proteins also make up hormones, which our bodies use to communicate to glands what is needed. For example, hormones may communicate to a gland that more enzymes are needed. Overall, proteins do not only transport and communicate, but also signal, receive, catalyze, store, and defend. Proteins even allow cells to keep their shape, make up muscle tissue, speed up processes (enzymes), and destroy bacteria in our bodies (cK-12)!

How Are Proteins Used?

Proteins are used to provide cells with energy; they are necessary for life. Proteins are broken down into their component amino acids when food is digested. The cells use the broken down amino acids to build new proteins. The new proteins then give cells energy and allow us to use it in our daily lives when we move!

Foods like nuts and seeds contain protein.

Where Do Proteins Come From?

Proteins come from foods that we digest. Protein-rich foods include meat and seafood, such as beef, salmon, fish, chicken, shrimp, and bacon. You can also consume protein through tofu, cheese, eggs, almonds, peas, milk, soybeans, yogurt, and many more. According to cK-12, "Humans are able to synthesize all but eight of the twenty common amino acids. These eight amino acids, called essential amino acids, must be consumed in foods" (cK-12). The twenty common amino acids, on the other hand, are created inside our bodies with ribosomes. According to Biology4Kids, "Ribosomes are the protein builders or the protein synthesizers of the cell. They are like construction guys who connect one amino acid at a time and build long chains" (Biology4Kids). As the text states, ribosomes inside the cell will build the protein "one amino acid at a time."

Created By
Jordan C.
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