Proteins and their Structures, Biology tutorial


Proteins differ both in function and structure. They are made from a set of 20 amino acids and encompass dissimilar three-dimensional shapes. The structure of a protein finds out its function. For illustration, collagen consists of a super-coiled helical shape. It is long, tough, strong, and looks like a rope. This structure is great for offering support. Hemoglobin on the other hand, is a globular protein which is folded and compact. Its spherical shape is helpful for planning via blood vessels.

Definition and Diversity of Proteins:

Whenever we look at a cell via a microscope or examine its electrical or biochemical action, we are, in essence, examining proteins. Proteins comprise most of a cell's dry mass. They are not simply the building blocks from which cells are made up of; they as well execute almost all cell functions. Therefore, enzymes give the intricate molecular surfaces in a cell which promote its numerous chemical reactions. Proteins fixed in the plasma membrane form channels and pumps which control the passage of small molecules into and out of the cell. The other proteins carry messages from one cell to the other, or act as signal integrators which relay sets of signals inward from the plasma membrane to the cell nucleus. Nonetheless others serve up as tiny molecular machines having moving parts: kinesin, for instance, propels organelles via the cytoplasm; topoisomerase can untangle knotted DNA molecules. Other specialized proteins act as antibodies, hormones, toxins, antifreeze molecules, elastic fibers, ropes and sources of luminescence. Before we comprehend how genes work, muscles contract, nerves conduct electricity, how embryos grow and how our bodies function, we should accomplish a deep knowledge of proteins.

Protein Structure:

Proteins are a significant class of biological macromolecules present in all the biological organisms builds up of such elements as nitrogen, carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Several proteins include sulphur in addition. All the proteins are polymers of amino acids. The polymers, as well termed as polypeptides, comprise of a series of 20 different L-α-amino acids, as well termed to as residues. For chains beneath 40 residues the word peptide is often used rather than protein. To be capable to carry out their biological function, proteins fold into one, or more, particular spatial conformations, driven by a number of non-covalent interactions like hydrogen bonding, ionic interactions, Van Der Waals forces and hydrophobic packing. A number of residues are essential to carry out a specific biochemical function, and around 40 to 50 residues appear to be the lower limit for a functional domain size. The size of Protein ranges from this lower limit to some thousand residues in multi-functional or structural proteins.

Though, the current estimation for the average protein length is about 300 residues. Very big aggregates can be made from protein subunits, for illustration many thousand actin molecules assemble to a microfilament. It is often essential to find out the three dimensional structure of proteins.

Levels of Protein Structure:

The structural features or characteristics of proteins are generally explained at four levels of complexity:

1) Primary structure: The linear arrangement of amino acids in a protein and the position of covalent linkages like disulphide bonds among amino acids.

2) Secondary structure: Regions of folding or coiling in a protein; illustrations comprise alpha helices and pleated sheets that are stabilized through hydrogen bonding.

3) Tertiary structure: The final three-dimensional structure of the protein, which outcomes from a big number of non-covalent interactions among amino acids.

4) Quaternary structure: Non-covalent interactions which bind multiple polypeptides into a single, bigger protein. Hemoglobin consists of quaternary structure due to relationship of two alpha globin and two beta globin polyproteins.

The primary structure of a protein can willingly be assumed from the nucleotide series of the corresponding messenger RNA. Based on the primary structure, numerous features of secondary structure can be predicted with the help of computer programs. Though, predicting protein tertiary structure remains an extremely tough problem, however some progress has been prepared in this significant region.

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