About the Proteins Zone

Structure of human hemoglobin, the protein which carries oxygen in our blood. Image: wikimedia

Proteins are essential to all cells, and all life. If amino-acids are the building blocks of life, then proteins are both the pre-fab wall sections and the builders themselves. Our cells are able to read their very unique instructions manual and arrange amino-acids in a chain, which will later be folded to form proteins with very different forms and functions.

If cells can’t read their manual and produce the correct chain of amino-acids, or if they can’t fold this chain in the right way, they will get a protein which cannot carry its normal function. Like a chair with just two legs, who could sit on it?!

There is a whole heap of research going on about proteins: from finding their structures or the way they interact with each other, to understanding all their functions.

In this zone scientists look at how this machinery works to keep everything under control, and how we get get diseases, like cancer, when it doesn’t work. We’ll also meet scientists studying very special proteins or even making them in the lab from scratch!

You can find out more about the scientists in this zone, and what they work on by reading their profiles. Click on their names at the top of this page to find out more!

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