BIOLOGY - Proteins: How They Work By, Jin Chang (me)

Essay by Essay_JinJunior High, 9th gradeA+, May 2005

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+ Importance of Proteins

Proteins are the building blocks of life. They do many tasks in the body that keep us alive. They are structural and give us support, store food, defend by making antibodies, transport oxygen through blood, signal by hormones, and create enzymes. Proteins are probably the most important thing in the body because of its versatility

+ Function of Proteins/ Importance of Shape

Proteins are made through 4 structures: Primary, secondary, tertiary, and quaternary. The primary structure is a linear sequence made of amino acids. The secondary structure is the folding up of the first structure due to hydrogen bonds. The most common of the secondary structure is the alpha helix which makes a spiral like 3-D shape. The tertiary structure is the 3-D shape that determines the function of the protein. The quaternary structure is the clustering of 2 or more polypeptide chains. This is the final stage of a protein.

The function of a protein depends on the overall 3-D shape of it. The shape of the protein is dependent on the primary structure. However, proteins can also be denatured (change in shape and function) due to several reasons. Three possibilities of a denatured protein are: changes in pH level, changes in salt concentration, and higher temperature (reduce strength of hydrogen bonds).

+ Amino Acids and Peptide Bonds

Amino Acids are the building blocks of proteins. There are a total of 20 different amino acids that can make up proteins. The shape and function of a protein is dependent on the order or sequence of the amino acids. Amino acids are bonded by peptide bonds. Both the amino acids and peptide bonds are very important parts of the making of a protein.

+ Enzymes

Enzymes are also a very important part of life. There...