Thursday, March 4, 2010

Protein Wonders

The only problem with showing people the wonders of proteins is to know where to start. There is such a variety of amazing molecules, it boggles the mind. These pictures are seen in magazines and on the Internet, but some places are especially good, I think, for learning about them. I'll assume I'm speaking to a beginner, but this applies for anyone.

When I was in college, I learned about physiology, but a lot of it had to do with which hormone was floating to which organ. In vet school, we were concerned about disease and medicine. There was not the access to microbiological structures as there is now. But, one of the things they taught us there was how to teach ourselves. They knew science and medicine would keep changing and we had to be able to keep up. In my case, it was "catch up," since I had been away from practicing for a while.

But now I enjoy looking at the proteins and reading about their structures and functions. The proteins form parts of larger structures. Sometimes there are many duplicates of the same protein within the whole mechanism.

There are many links and one database can lead to another. I have spent a few years on this blog, learning about them and putting together different descriptions. I invite you to look around. I think it is set up well because I have links to certain basic points. Some are inside my own website and some connect to others.

The "cell" is the basic unit of our bodies. Humans have about 100 trillion cells. Proteins are one of the working components of our cells. The pictures here are of one amazing set of proteins, ATP Synthase and the machinery that copies the DNA code to make proteins, RNA Polymerase. You can go to the links and read my description. ATP Synthase is an energy-storing machine. Don't worry if you can't understand all the terms or what I've said. Enjoy the wonders of them. Eventually, if you are interested and keep working on it, you'll understand more. You can also click on the pictures here to get a better look.

One of my favorite sites is the RCSB Protein Data Bank Molecule of the Month by David Goodsell. The RCSB stands for Research Collaboratory for Structural Bioinformatics. That sounds complicated, but the descriptions and pictures in Molecule of the Month are meant for a general audience. You can go there to get a good idea of the amazing variety of proteins and how they work. The proteins are listed alphabetically in the link I have given, but you can make your way around by going to the home page and the current one if you like. That is pictured prominently there.

Many sites have help manuals. I hope you enjoy learning about them.