Significance of Proteins and Current Research Regarding the Synthesis of Specific Protein Types
Proteins are commonly misinterpreted in the society simply as components of several food materials. However, its presence is vital to the survival of organisms including humans. It importance is due not only to its role in additional structural support for several components of an organism but also in the other functions and capabilities that it entails. Proteins are necessary for biological processes such as serving as catalysts, mediators of cellular transport, chemical signaling, and even genetic regulation.
These specific capabilities of different proteins are manifested through the tertiary structure of the protein, and in that sense can be deactivated if the tertiary structure is compromised. The complexity of the structure of proteins has proven to be a source of difficulty for scientists in terms of the search for new applications of naturally occurring proteins. In this sense, a study has been conducted which determined whether it is possible to synthesize a protein to provide specific functions rather than assess the other capabilities of the naturally occurring proteins.
The results of the study were affirmative due to the fact that the researchers have successfully created a synthetic protein which emulates the capability of neuroglobin. Therefore, in essence researchers and scientist acknowledge the value of proteins and thus the continuation of studies regarding proteins is imminent, and in effect the results of further studies may serve significant purpose in beneficial developments for the global community. Introduction For the common individual, proteins may only be associated with meat products.
However, given that proteins constitute a considerable amount of the body of numerous organisms, it is obvious that proteins have a much larger and complex role in the complex biological processes of various organisms including humans. In fact, together with carbohydrates and fats, proteins are considered to be the most essential of the three (Ophardt, 2003). The roles of proteins are observed through several biological functions or processes. Among these are of course structural support, hastening biological processes through enzymes, certain methods of cellular transport, chemical signaling, and also gene regulation (Kimball, 2006).
With this, there is no question regarding the significance of proteins for organisms as it is evident that most of the vital biological processes and functions are either directly affected or indirectly influenced by different types of proteins. As presented in the table, each one of the three structural levels has an underlying significance. Of the three however, in terms of biological reactions, the most significant is the tertiary structure; in fact, if a protein is denatured, tertiary structure is destroyed leading to enzymatic functions and target specificity being compromised (Kimball, 2003).
Given the significance and the complexity of proteins in general, numerous scientific researches have been geared towards the subject of proteins. In fact, in the past decade there have been significant developments regarding proteins in terms of the other possible ways in which it may affect organisms; the most notable of such developments is the discovery of the prion hypothesis which states that abnormal prion proteins may confer abnormal status to normal proteins that it comes into contact with (Preslar, n. d).
This is significant in understanding the methods in which spongiform type of diseases may be transferred. In relation to this, given the importance of proteins, each study or research into proteins, may it be fundamental in nature or may already be in the state of testing applications, are all relatively important and may directly or indirectly have beneficial effects to individuals around the world. Therefore in this sense, keeping track of recent developments regarding research on proteins is a significant pursuit. Discussion
A recent study, actually done just in the current year by a group of scientists, explores the possibility of creating new protein types with specific alterations in terms of its functions. Since proteins that naturally occur are rather difficult to analyze since the overall structure of proteins are generally very complex; in this sense, studies regarding the assessment of the additional potential applications of known proteins have been relatively inefficient (University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine [UPSM], 2009 ).
Thus, this point explains why known naturally occurring proteins are commonly considered to have a specific capability, meaning that such proteins are not necessarily limited to a single feature but rather other functions are rarely identified. The researchers utilized a method of creating new types of proteins that was derived through observations and principles gathered from naturally occurring variants; in this case, the researchers aimed to produce a protein that has a similar function to neuroglobin which serves as an oxygen carrier in blood (UPSM, 2009).
The main schematic in which the experiment was conducted is presented in Figure 1 below. Figure 1. General Schematic for the Synthesis of the New Oxygen Carrier Protein The first two steps were needed to form the main structure of the protein. A helical structure was first formed, but afterwards a bundle of four helical structures were formed from the initial structures; it was also noted that the researchers added an area in the completed structure which forms a loop (UPSM, 2009). The two steps that followed afterwards were aimed towards adding the oxygen into the system.
Adding a heme group into the equation allows for oxygen to be bound at desired areas in the synthesized protein; in addition to this, it was also pointed out that glutamate was added in order to allow better intake capacity of oxygen in the helix bundle by further increasing the overall receptiveness of the structure (UPSM, 2009). The researchers also anticipated the antagonistic behavior of water to both heme and oxygen. In effect, they altered the external portions of the protein structure to become non polar so as to prevent the undesired effects of water to the contained oxygen (UPSM, 2009).
An additional instrument was also utilized in the course of the experiment. In fact, it has been stated that a synthesizer was used in order to produce the protein sequence required by the researchers in the study; in the process, more than one sequence was produced until the needed sequence was acquired (UPSM, 2009). The synthesizer was not able to produce the complete protein however, which required additional steps of preparation. By incorporating the protein produced into the system of a microorganism, which specifically was E.
coli, the complete synthesized protein was made. Upon leaving the protein in the system for a specified duration, the overall capacity of the synthesized protein to incorporate and contain oxygen was determined through chemical tests. The chemical tests done allowed for observations in terms of color changes; if the overall process of oxygen intake was successful then the solution changes from having a dark red coloration to a scarlet tint (UPSM, 2009). Such a simple confirmatory test allows for the easy detection of proper reaction by the synthesized proteins.
In essence, even though the confirmatory test utilized in the study was uncomplicated, it does not mean that the results it produced are less valid. In addition, there the reaction exhibited by the synthesized protein was also determined to be exhibited by the naturally occurring neuroglobin which it emulates (UPSM, 2009). The overall results of the experiment conducted were generally positive. The capability of the synthesized protein to provide the same reaction and function of neuroglobin has been established (UPSM, 2009).
Hence, this implied that it is indeed possible to produce a specific kind of protein with a specific set of capabilities through a simple approach. In effect, the researchers have proven that the complex analysis of naturally occurring proteins may in fact not be needed in finding specific proteins with a defined set of functions; it may be possible to produce proteins of importance such as those found in the blood in a relatively simpler manner which further opens up more practical applications of the findings of the study (UPSM, 2009).
Conclusion As presented in the discussion, proteins are indeed both complex and important. Proteins are complex due to the varying levels of their structure, which is composed of three main types. The primary structure is termed as the main structural conformation of the protein serving as the core structure, the secondary structure allows for more structural support by either proving the protein with a helix conformation or pleated structure, the tertiary structure being responsible for the features of the resulting protein (Kimbal, 2006).
In relation to this, the importance of the proteins were also pointed out in terms of the functions that it exhibited. Thus in essence, it is vital to the biological processes in an organism through roles in speeding up biological reactions, serving as carrier, and other roles as previously pointed out (Ophardt, 2003). In effect, research and studies regarding proteins have been present throughout history due to the fact that experts truly acknowledge its overall importance.
One such experiment was concerned about providing a relatively simple method of producing proteins which have a specific set of features depending on the target application. Also, another goal of the experiment was to circumvent the difficulties in identifying other functions of the already known naturally occurring proteins. From the results of their experiment, a synthesized protein was able to function in the exact manner as the neuroglobin which it serves as a potential substitute of (UPSM, 2009).
Hence, the researchers have provided proof that it is indeed possible to produce proteins with specified features through the method that they have utilized in their study. Therefore, it can be said that due to the vital nature of proteins, more upcoming studies and research will focus on it in terms of providing additional fundamental information, to prove or disprove current beliefs, as well as form new or enhanced methods for synthesis or manipulation.
In this sense, further advancements in terms of medicine or biological science as a whole may in part be dependent upon additional findings or discoveries regarding proteins. Literature Cited Kimball, J. 2003, Oct. 10. Tertiary Structure. Kimball’s Biology Pages. <http://users. rcn. com/jkimball. ma. ultranet/BiologyPages/T/TertiaryStructure. html> Accessed 2 May 2009. Kimball, J. 2006, Mar. 24. Proteins – General Introduction. Kimball’s Biology Pages. <http://users. rcn. com/jkimball. ma. ultranet/BiologyPages/P/Proteins. html> Accessed 2 May 2009. Ophardt, C.
E. 2003. Proteins – Introduction. Virtual Chembook – Elmhurst College. <http://www. elmhurst. edu/~chm/vchembook/565proteins. html> Accessed 2 May 2009. Preslar, D. B. n. d. Mad Cows, Englishmen, and the Prion Hypothesis. Federation of American Scientists. <http://www. fas. org/ahead/docs/bsesurvey. htm> Accessed 2 May 2009. University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. 2009, Mar. 27. Proteins By Design: Biochemists Create New Protein From Scratch. ScienceDaily. <http://www. sciencedaily. com¬ /releases/2009/03/090323154349. htm> Accessed 2 May 2009.Sample Essay of EduBirdie.com