Proteins are an essential part of living organisms, with a variety of functions that make them critical to life. In this lesson, we will explore the basic concepts of proteins, their structure, and their importance in the body.

What are Proteins?

Proteins are large, complex molecules made up of amino acids. They play a vital role in many biological processes, such as enzymatic reactions, muscle contraction, and cell signaling. Proteins can also act as structural components, providing support and shape to cells and tissues.

Structure of Proteins Proteins have a complex structure that determines their function.

The structure of a protein is typically described at four levels:

Primary structure – the linear sequence of amino acids that make up the protein.

Secondary structure – the folding of the protein chain into regular structures, such as alpha helices or beta sheets.

Tertiary structure – the overall three-dimensional shape of the protein.

Quaternary structure – the interaction of multiple protein subunits to form a larger protein complex.

Importance of Proteins Proteins are essential for the proper functioning of the body.

Some of their key roles include:

Enzymatic reactions – proteins act as catalysts to speed up chemical reactions in the body.

Structural support – proteins provide support and shape to cells and tissues.

Transportation – proteins transport molecules such as oxygen and nutrients through the body.

Immune system – proteins play a vital role in the immune system, fighting off pathogens and foreign substances.

Energy – proteins can be broken down to provide energy for the body.