Unveiling Protein, the Building Blocks of Life and Their Crucial Functions
Proteins serve as the building blocks of life, forming a significant part of our bodies, including our bones and cells. Virtually all non-fat molecules in our body are proteins, and they play crucial roles in various cellular functions, such as nutrient absorption, waste removal, and cell replication. But what exactly are proteins?
Proteins are a combination of amino acids which are the basic structures of proteins and there are about 20 amino acids and it is no doubt that some of us do not know them, so let me do the honors of listing them. They are; Arginine, Asparagine, Aspartic Acid (Aspartate), Cysteine, Glutamic Acid (Glutamate), Glutamine, Glycine, Histidine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Proline, Serine, Threonine, Tryptophan, Tyrosine, Valine, and selenocysteine. It's not like I knew the entire 21 before writing this post, I actually learned about half of the names when researching for this post but I knew about 10 of them prior to writing this post, so I could give myself a 48% mark.
When these amino acids link together, they form a protein, which then participates in various biological pathways by interacting with other proteins. The length of amino acid chains can vary; some proteins consist of as few as 400 amino acids, while others can be much larger. For example, Insulin is composed of 51 proteins, while Titin contains a staggering 27,000 to 33,000 proteins.
DNA is made up of genes which are proteins that make up your genetic information. DNA is also made up of sets of instructions for protein synthesis, which codes for our life altogether. Each of the proteins in our body has different charges, as some are negative, some are positive, and others are neutral. Aspartic Acid (Aspartate) and Glutamic Acid (Glutamate) are acidic amino acids and are negatively charged. Arginine, Histidine, and Lysine have positively charged side chains, and are thus positively charged basic amino acids. These charges can either repel or attract one another, and they become very complex when they attract one another.
When mutations occur in our genes, they can alter the sequence and function of proteins, leading to the development of diseases. Proteins play a significant role in various biological processes, including puberty, where a protein called Kisspeptin acts as a key initiator. Kisspeptin while it can stop cancer from spreading but it is also important in kickstarting the hormones responsible for puberty, thereby helping with the transition from child to adult.
Proteins are truly indispensable in the intricate workings of life, shaping our growth, health, and overall well-being. A non-living molecule that has created life and is responsible for a whole lot of compositions. Understanding their functions and interactions is vital in unlocking everything about human biology and advancing medical science.