Biomolecules: The Proteins

Biomolecules: The Proteins


Welcome to Biomolecules: The Proteins. Proteins do most of the work in cells including DNA replication, transportation of molecules, and providing structure to cells. They’re also some of the largest biomolecules because they’re made up of long chains of building blocks, called amino acids. Proteins comprise ten to thirty percent of cell mass, and have many physiological functions. All enzymes, blood proteins, hemoglobin, and antibodies are examples of proteins. All proteins contain carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, and nitrogen, and they may have other elements as well. Differences in the R-group identify the various amino acids. Amino acids are organic compounds that are distinguished by their attached R-group. The simplest one, glycine, has only one hydrogen molecule in its R-group. Some of the more complex ones, such as arginine and histidine, have larger compounds in this position. The sequence of amino acids determines the protein molecule’s primary structure. These are connected by peptide bonds and form a polypeptide chain. The information to construct the amino acid sequence, is in the DNA molecule. Some proteins have as few as a hundred amino acids, while others have several thousand. Depending on a protein’s amino acid sequence, the chain may use hydrogen bonding to form a secondary structure of coils or pleats. Still more bonding and folding can create a three-dimensional shape, or confirmation, of the protein. The confirmation determines the protein’s function. The confirmation of protein is vulnerable to destruction by high temperatures, the wrong pH, radiation, and chemicals. Many proteins are denatured this way. Animal protein molecules contain repeated use of all 20 amino acids and are complete proteins. Most plant proteins are incomplete because not all 20 amino acids are used in building each type of plant protein molecule. Vegetarians, therefore eat a variety of plant materials to get all of the amino acids they need for their own protein synthesis. Congratulations! You have completed, Biomolecules: The Proteins.