If you do not have much knowledge about proteins (besides seeing it mentioned on milk-based products in the supermarket) there is a few things you should know. Here is a selection of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about proteins.
Question 1: How important are proteins (really) for human health?
Proteins are indispensable and the central elementfor all processes, cells, tissues and organs. Not just the human body, but in all living organisms on earth.
Question 2: What is the overall function(s) of proteins in my body?
Proteins carry out and are involved in all chemical reactions in your body: Defensive actions against bacteria, signaling from one body part to another, production of new biomolecules and even degradation of “used-up” body cells – just to mention a few applications.
Question 3: Should I include proteins in my diet every day? (And what if I’m vegetarian?)
Proteins are made up of amino acids and are in fact broken down to these building blocks after your meal, no matter what kind of food you eat. Therefore, you should never go a full day without complete proteins in your diet. Complete proteins are food sources with all essential amino acids, and particularly healthy choices include quinoa, buckwheat, poultry, eggs, and seafood, just to mention a few.
Question 4: The 3D structure of a protein seems unordered and messy. It that the case?
The basic structure of proteins is a sequence of amino acids, linked together like beads on a string. When the amino acids have been put together, turns and bonds between them (i.e. interactions between amino acids which are actually distant from each other in the beads on string-like sequence) result in a more complex 3D-structure.
With this structure, the proteingains various chemical capabilities that relate directly to its destined function(s). The structure is thus in no way unordered – since every bond and turn is justified and serves a specific purpose.
Question 5: How is the protein sequence and structure typically analyzed?
The number of suitable methods is high, and only a few are mentioned here: Edman degradation is very useful for sequencing of 10-20 amino acids, especially for the N-terminal protein end. De-novo sequencing is an alternative, when you need the full sequence of your protein (or antibody). Furthermore, amino acid analysis by HPLC is extremely valuable, since it can precisely identify and quantify the amino acid content of most protein samples.