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The Functions Of Proteins In Plants And Animals

1083 words - 4 pages

The Functions of Proteins in Plants and Animals

Proteins are polymers of monomers called amino acids. Amino acids
contain hydrogen, carbon, oxygen and nitrogen. When amino acids are
linked together, they form polypeptide chains and bonded together by
peptide bonds. There are different structures of polypeptides primary,
secondary, tertiary and quaternary. The primary structure is a
straight chain of polypeptides. Secondary structure is the polypeptide
chain coiling to form an α helix or the polypeptide chain linking
together to form a β pleated strand. In an α helix hydrogen bonding
forms in the secondary structure between the NH group of one amino
acid and the CO group of another amino acid. In a β pleated strand
hydrogen bonding occurs between the CO and NH groups of one amino acid
residue of one chain and the NH and CO group of another chain. The
further folding of the polypeptide chain is known as the tertiary
structure. In this structure the folding and coiling of the chain is
irregular. This causes the types of bonding between the amino acid
residues to vary. The quaternary structure consists of more than one
polypeptide chain this structure is found in haemoglobin. The bonding
between different groups in this case can vary depending upon the
functional groups present. If hydrogen and oxygen bind to another
hydrogen and oxygen of another R group the hydrogen bonding is
present. If not then ionic bonding occurs. If the amino acid residues
contain sulphur then disulphide bridges are formed. There are two
types of protein fibrous which is insoluble in water and globular
which is soluble in water. Fibrous proteins are found in proteins
which have structural functions such as collagen whereas globular are
found enzymes and hormones.

Enzymes are tertiary proteins and globular, this because they have to
be soluble so that they can be transported in the blood plasma. They
have a 3D shape, which allows enzymes to have an active site to which
only specific substrates will be able to attach to it. For example,
digestive enzymes such as amylase which breaks down starch into
maltose. Rubisco found in plants allows Ribulose Bis Phosphate to
catalyse carboxylation in photosynthesis.

Some hormones are also globular proteins. These too have to be soluble
so that they can be transported in the blood plasma. Insulin which is
a globular protein with a quaternary structure. Its function is to
stimulate the conversion of glucose into glycogen when the level of
glucose in the blood plasma is higher than normal. Its counterpart
glucagon stimulates the breakdown of glycogen into glucose when the
level of glucose in the blood plasma is lower than normal. Adrenalin
is also an hormone which vasodilates and vasoconstricts the blood
supply to parts of...

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