Genes are important because they are the blueprints for proteins, but proteins are where the action is in human life and health. This ability to find links between sets of proteins involved in different genetic disorders offers a novel approach for more rapidly identifying new candidate genes involved in human diseases.
So many of the chemical reactions occurring in living systems have been shown to be catalytic processes occurring isothermally on the surface of specific proteins, referred to as enzymes, that it seems fairly safe to assume that all are of this nature and that the proteins are the necessary basis for carrying out the processes that we call life.
John Desmond Bernal
No vegetarian has been able to achieve a single Nobel prize. It is a clear-cut condemnation of vegetarianism. Why do all the Nobel prizes go to non-vegetarians? - because vegetarian food does not contain those proteins which create intelligence. And unless we provide those proteins, intelligence cannot grow. The body is a very delicate phenomenon and it needs a very well balanced diet.
On the whole, at least in the author's experience, the preparation of species-specific antiserum fractions and the differentiation of closely related species with precipitin sera for serum proteins does not succeed so regularly as with agglutinins and lysins for blood cells. This may be due to the fact that in the evolutional scale the proteins undergo continuous variations whereas cell antigens are subject to sudden changes not linked by intermediary stages.
In describing a protein it is now common to distinguish the primary, secondary and tertiary structures. The primary structure is simply the order, or sequence, of the amino-acid residues along the polypeptide chains. This was first determined by [Frederick] Sanger using chemical techniques for the protein insulin, and has since been elucidated for a number of peptides and, in part, for one or two other small proteins. The secondary structure is the type of folding, coiling or puckering adopted by the polypeptide chain: the a-helix structure and the pleated sheet are examples. Secondary structure has been assigned in broad outline to a number of librous proteins such as silk, keratin and collagen; but we are ignorant of the nature of the secondary structure of any globular protein. True, there is suggestive evidence, though as yet no proof, that a-helices occur in globular proteins, to an extent which is difficult to gauge quantitatively in any particular case. The tertiary structure is the way in which the folded or coiled polypeptide chains are disposed to form the protein molecule as a three-dimensional object, in space. The chemical and physical properties of a protein cannot be fully interpreted until all three levels of structure are understood, for these properties depend on the spatial relationships between the amino-acids, and these in turn depend on the tertiary and secondary structures as much as on the primary. Only X-ray diffraction methods seem capable, even in principle, of unravelling the tertiary and secondary structures. [Co-author with G. Bodo, H. M. Dintzis, R. G. Parrish, H. Wyckoff, and D. C. Phillips]
A meringue is really nothing but a foam. And what is a foam after all, but a big collection of bubbles? And what's a bubble? It's basically a very flimsy little latticework of proteins draped with water. We add sugar to this structure, which strengthens it. But things can, and do, go wrong.
I became aware of the very complex internal organization in a cell from the basic science classes, and it made me think about how all that could work. It seemed like a great mystery, especially how organelles in the cell can be arranged in three dimensions, and how thousands of proteins could find their way to the right location in the cells.
For example, in Vitamin K, the clotting proteins get it first... and only after they're satisfied do you prevent calcification of the arteries, or prevent cancer, or prevent bone fractures. It's all insidious damage that you get that's a long term consequence. In fact, we call these the diseases of aging.
For a decade, I had been studying a transparent worm, the C. elegans. I immediately thought, if you could put the G.F.P. gene into C. elegans, you'd then be able to see biological processes in live animals. Until then, we had to kill them and prepare their tissues chemically to visualize proteins or active genes within cells.
The development of methods to monitor protein dynamics in cells together with the discovery of specific and general lysosomal inhibitors have resulted in the identification of different classes of cellular proteins, long- and short-lived, and the findings of the differential effects of the inhibitors on these groups.
How do you know what's really organic? Today, there's all these impurities in the water and the air. The water for the fruits and vegetables has junk in it. If you get enough vitamins and minerals out of normal food and whole grains, and you get enough proteins and exercise (that's the key) then nature builds up a tolerance to all of these things. It's survival of the fittest. You can't have everything perfect, that's impossible, but the fit survive.
I'm typically a 'just drink water' kind of guy. I was a bodybuilder in high school, so I used to - food to me was, 'there are this many grams of carbohydrates and proteins, and I need these micronutrients in order to grow and be fit,' and I ate in order to live and not live in order to eat, and I think most people are the opposite.
It appears that a simple rule, of something adhering to another similar idea, repeated, leads to stabilities. This seems to be a function of relational data sets, linked to rules, like in DNA chains that have infinite adaptability for sequencing proteins. Out of only four bases, which in turn are further limited by two rules of complimentarity, a myriad of forms arise.
You see, proteins, as I probably needn't tell you, are immensely complicated groupings of amino acids and certain other specialized compounds, arranged in intricate three-dimensional patterns that are as unstable as sunbeams on a cloudy day. It is this instability that is life, since it is forever changing its position in an effort to maintain its identity--in the manner of a long rod balanced on an acrobat's nose.
NancyAccording to astronomers, every atom in my body was forged in a star. I am made, they insist, of stardust. I am stardust braided into strands and streamers of information, proteins and DNA, double helixes of stardust. In every cell of my body there is a thread of stardust as long as my arm.
DNA is the master blueprint for life and constitutes the genetic material in all free-living organisms and most viruses. RNA is the genetic material of certain viruses, but it is also found in all living cells, where it plays an important role in certain processes such as the making of proteins.
Richard J. Roberts
We can now determine, easily and relatively cheaply, the detailed chemical architecture of genes ; and we can trace the products of these genes ( enzymes and proteins ) as they influence the course of embryology . In so doing we have made the astounding discovery that all complex animal phyla - arthropods and vertebrates in particular - have retained, despite their half-billion years of evolutionary independence, an extensive set of common genetic blueprints for building bodies.
Stephen Jay Gould
The nucleic acids, as constituents of living organisms, are comparable In importance to proteins. There is evidence that they are Involved In the processes of cell division and growth, that they participate In the transmission of hereditary characters, and that they are important constituents of viruses. An understanding of the molecular structure of the nucleic acids should be of value In the effort to understand the fundamental phenomena of life.
We may, I believe, anticipate that the chemist of the future who is interested in the structure of proteins, nucleic acids, polysaccharides, and other complex substances with high molecular weight will come to rely upon a new structural chemistry, involving precise geometrical relationships among the atoms in the molecules and the rigorous application of the new structural principles, and that great progress will be made, through this technique, in the attack, by chemical methods, on the problems of biology and medicine.
There are thousands of proteins in the cells, some of them very large chains of molecules. And the cell doesn't function if one of those chains of molecules isn't there, and you start looking at the complexity of life and the mystery of life, and then start thinking about things like the twenty universal constants, that if any one of them from Plank's minimum to the mass of a proton, if one of them is the tiniest bit off, there would be no life or possibility of it in the universe.
It is, I believe, justifiable to make the generalization that anything an organic chemist can synthesize can be made without him. All he does is increase the probability that given reactions will 'go.' So it is quite reasonable to assume that given sufficient time and proper conditions, nucleotides, amino acids, proteins, and nucleic acids will arise by reactions that, though less probable, are as inevitable as those by which the organic chemist fulfills his predictions. So why not self-duplicating virus-like systems capable of further evolution?
George Wells Beadle
We all come into existence as a single cell, smaller than a speck of dust. Much smaller. Divide. Multiply. Add and subtract. Matter changes hands, atoms flow in and out, molecules pivot, proteins stitch together, mitochondria send out their oxidative dictates; we begin as a microscopic electrical swarm. The lungs the brain the heart. Forty weeks later, six trillion cells get crushed in the vise of our mother's birth canal and we howl. Then the world starts in on us.
I was gazing at a cup of cocoa on my night table. As I focused on the thick brown skin that had formed upon its surface like ice on a muddy pond something at the root of my tongue leapt like a little goat and my stomach turned over. There are not many things that I despise but chiefest among them is skin on milk. I loathe it with a passion. Not even the thought of the marvelous chemical change that forms the stuff-the milk's proteins churned and ripped apart by the heat of boiling then reassembling themselves as they cool into a jellied skin-was enough to console me. I would rather eat a cobweb.
If you could choose to master a single ingredient, no choice would teach you more about cooking than the egg. It is an end in itself; it's a multipurpose ingredient; it's an all-purpose garnish; it's an invaluable tool. The egg teaches your hands finesse and delicacy. It helps your arms develop strength and stamina. It instructs in the way proteins behave in heat and in the powerful ways we can change food mechanically. It's a lever for getting other foods to behave in great ways. Learn to take the egg to its many differing ends, and you've enlarged your culinary repertoire by a factor of ten.
Although we credit God with designing man, it turns out He's not sufficiently skilled to have done so. In point of fact, He unintentionally knocked over the first domino by creating a palette of atoms with different shapes. Electron clouds bonded, molecules bloomed, proteins embraced, and eventually cells formed and learned how to hang on to one another like lovebirds. He discovered that by simmering the Earth at the proper distance from the Sun, it instinctively sprouted with life. He's not so much a creator as a molecule tinkerer who enjoyed a stroke of luck: He simply set the ball rolling by creating a smorgasbord of matter, and creation ensued.
Originally, the atoms of carbon from which we're made were floating in the air, part of a carbon dioxide molecule. The only way to recruit these carbon atoms for the molecules necessary to support life-the carbohydrates, amino acids, proteins, and lipids-is by means of photosynthesis. Using sunlight as a catalyst the green cells of plants combine carbon atoms taken from the air with water and elements drawn from the soil to form the simple organic compounds that stand at the base of every food chain. It is more than a figure of speech to say that plants create life out of thin air.
Two chemicals called actin and myosin evolved eons ago to allow the muscles in insect wings to contract and relax. Thus, insects learned to fly. When one of those paired molecules are absent, wings will grow but they cannot flap and are therefore useless. Today, the same two proteins are responsible for the beating of the human heart, and when one is absent, the person's heartbeat is inefficient and weak, ultimately leading to heart failure. Again, science marvels at the way molecules adapt over millions of years, but isn't there a deeper intent? In our hearts, we feel the impulse to fly, to break free of boundaries. Isn't that the same impulse nature expressed when insects began to take flight? The prolactin that generates milk in a mother's breast is unchanged from the prolactin that sends salmon upstream to breed, enabling them to cross from saltwater to fresh.
What is this thing called life? I believe That the earth and the stars too, and the whole glittering universe, and rocks on the mountains have life, Only we do not call it so-I speak of the life That oxidizes fats and proteins and carbo- Hydrates to live on, and from that chemical energy Makes pleasure and pain, wonder, love, adoration, hatred and terror: how do these things grow From a chemical reaction? I think they were here already, I think the rocks And the earth and the other planets, and the stars and the galaxies have their various consciousness, all things are conscious; But the nerves of an animal, the nerves and brain Bring it to focus; the nerves and brain are like a burning-glass To concentrate the heat and make it catch fire: It seems to us martyrs hotter than the blazing hearth From which it came. So we scream and laugh, clamorous animals Born howling to die groaning: the old stones in the dooryard Prefer silence; but those and all things have their own awareness, As the cells of a man have; they feel and feed and influence each other, each unto all, Like the cells of a man's body making one being, They make one being, one consciousness, one life, one God.
Concepts of memory tend to reflect the technology of the times. Plato and Aristotle saw memories as thoughts inscribed on wax tablets that could be erased easily and used again. These days, we tend to think of memory as a camera or a video recorder, filming, storing, and recycling the vast troves of data we accumulate throughout our lives. In practice, though, every memory we retain depends upon a chain of chemical interactions that connect millions of neurons to one another. Those neurons never touch; instead, they communicate through tiny gaps, or synapses, that surround each of them. Every neuron has branching filaments, called dendrites, that receive chemical signals from other nerve cells and send the information across the synapse to the body of the next cell. The typical human brain has trillions of these connections. When we learn something, chemicals in the brain strengthen the synapses that connect neurons. Long-term memories, built from new proteins, change those synaptic networks constantly; inevitably, some grow weaker and others, as they absorb new information, grow more powerful.