Proteins are very important molecules in our cells. They are constructed from amino acids and each protein within the structure and function of proteins and enzymes has a specific function. This is a molecular model of the protein hemoglobin. This molecule transports oxygen around the body in red blood cells. By weight, proteins are collectively the major component of the dry weight of cells and are involved in virtually all cell functions.
Each protein within the body has a specific function, from cellular support to cell signaling and cellular locomotion. The structure of a protein may be globular or fibrous, and the design helps each protein with their particular function. In all, proteins are absolutely fascinating and a complex subject. Let’s explore the basics of these essential molecules and discover what they do for us. Examples of these proteins include actin and myosin. Enzymes are proteins that facilitate biochemical reactions. They are often referred to as catalysts because they speed up chemical reactions. Enzymes include lactase and pepsin, which you might hear of often when learning about specialty diets or digestive medical conditions.
Lactase breaks down the sugar lactose found in milk. Pepsin is a digestive enzyme that works in the stomach to break down proteins in food. Hormonal proteins are messenger proteins which help to coordinate certain bodily activities. Examples include insulin, oxytocin, and somatotropin. Insulin regulates glucose metabolism by controlling the blood-sugar concentration. Oxytocin stimulates contractions during childbirth.