any of a large class of complex polymers consisting of long chains of polypeptides often bonded with nucleic acids, lipids, etc.: proteins are found in all cells, are essential to the diet of animals, are the basic components of cartilage, hair, skin, etc., and often function as enzymes, hormones, or antibodies
Origin: Ger from French protéine from Glassical Greek prōteios, prime, chief from prōtos, first (see proto-): from being a chief constituent of plant and animal bodies
Any of a group of complex organic macromolecules that contain carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and usually sulfur and are composed of one or more chains of amino acids. Proteins are fundamental components of all living cells and include many substances, such as enzymes, hormones, and antibodies, that are necessary for the proper functioning of an organism. They are essential in the diet of animals for the growth and repair of tissue and can be obtained from foods such as meat, fish, eggs, milk, and legumes.
Origin: French protéine, from Late Greek prōteios, of the first quality, from Greek prōtos, first; see per1 in Indo-European roots.
Any of a group of complex organic macromolecules that contain carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and usually sulfur and are composed of chains of alpha-amino acids. Proteins are fundamental components of all living cells and include many substances, such as enzymes, hormones, and antibodies, that are necessary to the functioning of an organism. They are essential in the diet of animals for the growth and repair of tissue and can be obtained from foods such as meat, fish, eggs, milk, and legumes.
Any of a large class of complex organic chemical compounds that are essential for life. Proteins play a central role in biological processes and form the basis of living tissues. They consist of long chains of amino acids connected by peptide bonds and have distinct and varied three-dimensional structures, usually containing alpha helices and beta sheets as well as looping and folded chains. Enzymes, antibodies, and hemoglobin are examples of proteins.
A Closer LookProteins are the true workhorses of the body, carrying out most of the chemical processes and making up the majority of cellular structures. Proteins are made up of long chains of amino acids, but they don't resemble linear pieces of spaghetti. The atoms in these long chains have their own attractive and repulsive properties. Some of the amino acids can form bonds with other molecules in the chain, kinking and twisting and folding into complicated, three-dimensional shapes, such as helixes or densely furrowed globular structures. These folded shapes are immensely important because they define the protein's function in the cell. Some protein shapes fit perfectly in cell receptors, turning chemical processes on and off, like a key in a lock, whereas others work to transport molecules throughout the body (hemoglobin's shape is ideal for carrying oxygen). When proteins fail to take on their preordained shapes, there can be serious consequences: misfolded proteins have been implicated in diseases such as Alzheimer's, mad cow, and Parkinson's, among others. Exactly how proteins are able to fold into their required shapes is poorly understood and remains a fundamental question in biochemistry. See more at prion.