WHAT ARE PROTEINS?
Practically every cell on the planet (including hormones and enzymes) is made up of hundreds or even thousands of proteins. These consist of a combination of 20 amino acids. The acids are strung together like a code: for example, the hormone insulin is composed of a chain of 21 amino acids, while the muscle protein titin has 30,000. Proteins are everything to a cell: an energy source, structure, sensor and means of communication. It’s widely believed that proteins are even more important than the genome in understanding the body. The reason: the 25,000 human genes have largely been deciphered, but the roles of the 80,000 to 400,000 proteins in the body haven’t. Scientists don’t know when and where the proteins are used – yet.