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Proteins and Misfolds

Author: William Tsay

Editors: Ken Saito and Peggy Yang

Artists: Tiffany Chen

You may have heard that humans need proteins to survive. Yes, they are indeed an important part of your body. In fact, proteins are one of the most abundant organic molecules in living creatures and have the most diverse range of functions. But how can even the tiniest alteration in its structure cause death?

Proteins are among one of the four biological macromolecules, lipids, carbohydrates, and nucleic acids. They are large, complex molecules that act as enzymes, messengers, antibodies, and performing courier and structural roles. Proteins are synthesized during a process of transcription and translation. DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is the genetic blueprint of cells in an organism’s body. It codes for smaller amino acids or peptides, which are building blocks for proteins. When hundreds and thousands of peptides bond together, they form a polypeptide which in this case, is protein.