WHAT ARE PRO­TEINS?

World of Knowledge (Australia) - - Hu­man Body -

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.

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