Sunday, February 8, 2009

Importance of Proteins for Life forms

Proteins are essential to maintain the structure and function of all life forms. The word 'protein' itself is derived from the Greek word protos, meaning "primary" or "first." Proteins are vital for the growth, repair, and maintenance of muscles, blood, internal organs, skin, hair, and nails, and their functions are endless. Each and every property that characterizes a living organism is affected by proteins, whether it is a bacteria or a human body. Nucleic acids, another major biological macromolecule, are also essential for life; they encode genetic information-mostly specific for the structure of proteins-and the expression of that information depends almost entirely on proteins. The fertilization of an egg with a sperm and the development and differentiation of the resultant zygote into a fully developed organism and its growth and maintenance of life activities up to its death is controlled and programed by a large number of proteins.

In our body, when we breath, oxygen present in lungs will be taken by the hemoglobin present in the RBC of blood to the various cells of the system for the process of cellular respiration. Movements and activities of body parts and systems including lungs, heart, stomach, etc. are happening due to the contractions and relaxations of various types of muscles. Myosin, actin, and collagen are the protein molecules involved in body structure, protection, and muscular contraction and relaxation. The structure of cells, and the extracellular matrix in which they are embedded, is largely made of protein. Plants and many microbes depend on carbohydrates such as cellulose for support. All biological activities of cells are mediated and regulated by a large number of catalytic proteins called enzymes. The function of the human brain and the speed at which the electric impulses are generated and transmitted to coordinate various activities of the systems are meticulously done by a large number of proteins that act as enzymes and receptors.

The receptors and hormones are another class of proteins, which act as signal molecules that are involved in the coordination of different metabolic functions of the system. There are the proteins called transcription factors, which turn the genes on and oft to guide the differentiation of the cells and development, and there are many more activities in which proteins are involved. Thus, proteins are diverse in their functions and are truly the physical basis of life. To understand the diversity in the biological function of proteins, their molecular structure and shape has to be studied in detail, since the function is closely related to the structure.

Tags: Bio Technology, Bio Genetics, Proteins

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