When looking for what our body is made up of, you might come across terms like building blocks of proteins, carbohydrates, DNA, and more. But with such a lot of complex biochemical terms, don’t you find it difficult to understand? Well, then read ahead, and we will tell you what are the building blocks of proteins, carbohydrates, DNA, and much more in the most simplified version, below.
Here we simplify the complex terms and make it absolutely easy for you to understand how the body mechanism works. So, read ahead, and we are sure you will know the building blocks of proteins and much more by the end of this article!
Table of Contents
What are the building blocks of proteins?
Amino acids are the building blocks of life. There are about twenty different kinds of amino acids. All of these have unique shapes.
Some of the amino acids include:
- aspartic acid
- glutamic acid
Amino Acids Properties
As you know, the building blocks of proteins are amino acids, so it is needless to say that the characteristics of the amino acids impact all your biological activities. So, let us check out the two properties of amino acids that affect you:
You will find that amino acids are both basic and acidic in nature, present in the first carbon atom. So, you can refer to this as amphoteric, as it may act as a base and acid as well.
When you try out a test on the pH scale, you will notice that amino acids gaining both negative and positive ions in the molecule. So, you can refer to this as an isoelectric point.
Amino acids can reveal optical activities or chirality, where you may find the C-C bond having the R group on any of the sides. Generally, you will find amino acids to be L-isomers. But glycine is an exception. You will find it not to conform to this form.
How do they join together?
They attach with each other and form different combinations of larger particles known as proteins. Amino acids are essential for life as they aid in the development of cells. Wondering how these tiny particles do such a tremendous job? Well, here’s the entire process simplified.
Amino acids join together to form proteins. Made out of amino acids, you can refer to proteins as organic molecules too. These protein molecules combine with various different chemicals to form cells. These cells then fused to give birth to tissues. Tissues, in turn, develop organs, and that leads to the formation of human beings.
These organic molecules or proteins have to form the perfect shape to function. Otherwise, they are useless to the human body. This is where a unique mechanism comes into play.
These deoxyribonucleic acid molecules direct the amino acids to line up in a specific manner to form the perfect protein shape. They then aid in the formation of perfect creatures.
Amino Acids Examples
Now that you know the building blocks of proteins let us check out more about the amino acids.
You will find over 450 amino acids present naturally. But only the twenty amino acids work and are the most important ones in our body.
The groups of amino acids division depend primarily on the structure of the R group and much more. Based on that, you can divide amino acids into four groups, which are:
Polar is the amino acids that contain a minimum of one atom of sulfur, nitrogen, or oxygen. When any of these atoms pairs with water, the amino acid is polar.
Some of the examples of polar amino acids are glutamine, tyrosine, threonine, asparagine, cysteine, and serine.
The nonpolar amino acids have hydrophobic properties. This means that the R groups are either on the aromatic or aliphatic side chains. Some of the examples of nonpolar amino acids are proline, tryptophan, leucine, valine, glycine, methionine, alanine, phenylalanine, and alanine.
The name shows that these amino acids are basic in nature. Some of the examples of this group are histidine, lysine, and arginine. And you will find the structure of these amino acids to have a basic R-group structure. Doesn’t that replicate the name well?
Glutamic and aspartic are two examples in this category. These amino acids are acidic in nature because of the presence of carboxylic acid on the side of the structure.
Amino Acids Importance
Here is a list of the vital functions of amino acids. Check out the following:
Helps in Metabolism
According to your body’s requirements, amino acids metabolize themselves for energy. Moreover, your body also creates enzymes that you require for red blood cell production. Additionally, amino acids also help the body synthesize hormones.
Boosts bioactive compound production
Apart from playing a vital role in chain-building, an amino acid also helps in boosting the immune system. Also, it helps in managing diseases and boosts bioactive compound production.
Surprisingly, arginine synthesizes nitric oxide, which helps regulate muscle contraction and lowers blood pressure levels.
What are the building blocks of carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates are the primary chemical compound from which we derive energy to perform our daily activities. Carbohydrates mainly contain hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon molecules. And they are mainly derived from plants. However, small amounts can be found in milk and red meat as well.
Carbohydrates can be divided into many groups on the basis of their chemical composition and structure complexity.
Categories of carbohydrates
The three common categories are:
One of the primary forms of carbohydrates is sugar. Sugars can be chemically categorized as disaccharides and monosaccharides.
Monosaccharides (CH2O) can be defined as singular sugar molecules that are the base blocks for most other sugars and carbohydrates. Galactose, glucose, fructose are examples of monosaccharides.
Disaccharides (C12H22O11) are sugars that are made by fusing two single sugar molecules together. Lactose is the most critical sugar component that is commonly found in milk. Moreover, it is a form of disaccharide that has glucose and galactose molecules.
Table sugar or sucrose is derived from sugar canes and is formed by combining fructose and a glucose molecule.
Polysaccharides, also known as long series of molecules, are usually a blend of monosaccharides and disaccharides and contain complex structures. They can vary from a range of ten monomers to a few thousands of monomers. Some examples of polysaccharides are cellulose, gums, pectin, fiber, and starch. These complex structures are intricate for the body to digest, which is why they need fermentation by colonic bacteria.
What are polyols?
Polyols are generally alcohols made out of sugar. They are generally found in some vegetables and fruits. However, these are primarily made for commercial purposes. For example, xylitol is generally added to chewing gums that are free of sugar. These sugar alcohols are also beneficial as they do not have any adverse effects on the teeth.
What are the building blocks of DNA?
Well, now that you know about the building blocks of proteins and carbohydrates, how could we miss out on DNA?
We have all heard of the term ‘DNA,’ but have you really wondered what it is? Are they of any importance? Moreover, what do they do?
Well, we are all aware of the fact that DNA is vital for life. We also know that it is the primary element that makes up the human body. But how?
So, DNA, also known as deoxyribonucleic acid, is a nucleic acid. It is present in the nucleus of cells that make up our body. It provides directions to the body on how to use proteins. These proteins are incredibly essential for the growth and development of your overall health and wellness.
Structure of DNA
In terms of structure, DNA can be categorized as a molecule composed of a bunch of atoms that are stuck together. These atoms form a spiral ladder shape to form a double helix strand. DNA is also referred to as the blueprint for an individual human being.
The entire set of DNA refers to as genome. There are more than 3 billion genome bases which are about 20,000 genes and 23 pairs of chromosomes.
Every mitochondrion of every cell has separate and distinct DNA. It is not the same as the one found in the nucleus of your cells. These mitochondrial DNA usually comes from the mother’s side. Yes, the entire line includes your mother, your grandmother, your great-grandmother, and so on.
If we untwist the DNA structure and take one strand of the double helix, we will find it is made of four main chemicals
- adenine (A)
- cytosine (C)
- guanine (G)
- thymine (T)
What are RNA structures?
In terms of location, you will find DNA generally in the nucleus of cells. Amino acids, on the other hand, live in the cell cytoplasm. Particular chemicals in the nucleus make a partial copy of DNA known as RNA or ribonucleic acid.
These molecular structures can easily penetrate through the nucleus body. Ribonucleic acids or RNA structures contain a single strand of the DNA and are comparatively shorter than DNA itself.
These RNA strands meet with ribosomes, and you can call them protein-producing machines. These RNA strands enter the ribosomes and provide them with a specific coding structure.
The ribosomes then read the RNA strand at three letters at a time. These three letters help the ribosomes to create proteins that are following that specific genetic code.
It is on the basis of these three letters which tell the ribosome, select the suitable protein among 20 kinds of proteins that it possesses. For example, if the first three letters of the single strand are C, A, and A, the ribosome instantly grabs the protein glutamine. Similarly, if the following three letters are A, G, and U, the ribosome grabs the protein serine.
These chains of proteins that the ribosome produces grow and stick to itself, forming the perfect protein structure. These protein structures are significant as they help in formulating a new cell.
Quick Facts about DNA structures
However complex and unique these structures are, there are a few lesser-known facts about these structures. Check them out:
- If the DNA in a single cell is fully stretched out, it can have a length of six feet. Similarly, if all the DNA from your body is stretched out, it can be as long as hundred billion miles.
- The human genome has about twenty thousand genes. However, it only consists of about 1% to 2% of our DNA. The remaining portion is the ‘non-coding DNA.’ It is this portion of the DNA that we know nothing about. But scientists assume that this portion of the DNA possesses essential functions relevant to the human body.
- Although we may feel that we are unique, genetically, we are not. Identical twins have 100% similar genes. Most of the genes that we receive from our parents are an equal contribution to each one. Mysteriously though, siblings too have at least 50% similar genes, which is also the same for fraternal twins. Moreover, your genes are about 12.5% similar to that of your first cousins’.
- A single gram of DNA has about seven hundred terabytes of data. In simple terms, that is about three hundred and fifty-eight thousand hours of video in HD quality. Moreover, an individual contains more than fifty grams of DNA.
- The human genome consists of a complete sequence of human DNA that contains all three billion base pairs.
- DNA sequences of several noteworthy people are digitized and stored. The sequences include Stephen Hawking, Lance Armstrong, and Stephen Colbert. They are stored in a hard drive called the ‘Immortal Drive’. The drive is present on the International Space Station that orbits around the Earth.
As we come to the end of our blog today, we hope you have answers to your questions; what are the building blocks of proteins, carbohydrates, and DNA.
However, no matter what we know about DNA, we still don’t know enough. This is why scientists are constantly researching them to understand their importance and contribution to the human body.