Ewalt, Karla L. The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California.
Schimmel, Paul Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology, Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California.
Manning, James M. Department of Biochemistry, Rockefeller University, New York, New York.
Last reviewed:March 2019
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- Amino acids
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A polymeric compound made up of various monomeric units called amino acids joined by peptide linkages. Proteins are central to the processes of life. They are fundamental components of all biological systems, performing a wide variety of structural and functional roles. For example, proteins are primary constituents of numerous structures of the body, including hair, tendons, muscle (Fig. 1), skin, and cartilage. Several hormones (for example, insulin and growth hormone) are proteins. The substances responsible for oxygen and electron transport (hemoglobin and cytochromes, respectively) are conjugated proteins that contain a metalloporphyrin (a combination of a porphyrin and a metal) as the prosthetic group. Chromosomes are highly complex nucleoproteins, that is, proteins conjugated with nucleic acids. Viruses are also nucleoprotein in nature. See also: Biopolymer; Chromosome; Cytochrome; Hemoglobin; Hormone; Virus
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