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What are proteins composed of?

All proteins are composed of amino acids. Amino acids are molecules that have an amino group (NH3), an acid group (COOH), and an R group that differs with each amino acid.

Amino acids can be hydrophobic (non polar) such as Valine, and Leucine, or polar, as well as acidic and basic.

There are so many different proteins in our body that at one point scientists thought that proteins and not DNA were the genetic material responsible for coding all other molecules. All of the enzymes in our body that help to speed up reactions are also proteins and are therefore composed of amino acids as well.

Enzymes have a specific location where the substrates (reactant molecules) attach and where they help to speed up reactions and produce products. These sites are called active sites. These active sites differ from one molecule to another in the amino acid composition. There are key amino acids that are crucial to each active site of different enzymes are are needed for these sites to function properly.


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