Why Proteins Are Essential For Cellular Function

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Proteins are essential for cellular functions in all forms of life. Though proteins have been studied for decades, membrane proteins have not been properly understood due in part to their physical complexity and the difficulties in testing. Though many challenges hinder the discoveries in this area of biochemistry, Professor Alessandro Senes believes that the difficulties encountered only make the results more worthwhile. Researching these proteins advances our understanding of the importance of the protein structure on the molecular function in the cells. As Professor Senes and his team continue to explore recurring patterns in these membrane proteins, they further explore new topics in this growing area of science. Membrane proteins vary immensely in three-dimensional structure, resulting in a variety of functions in the cells. Some membrane proteins only interact with one side of the lipid bilayer, limiting their functions to primarily involve the core of the lipid bilayer or the surface of membrane. Other proteins extend to both sides of the membrane, allowing proteins to interact with the inside and outside of the lipid bilayer. All transmembrane proteins researched to date consist of alpha helices or beta sheets that transport molecules through the membrane, signal internal functions, or complete a variety of other functions. Professor Senes is particularly interested in transmembrane proteins containing two alpha helices that cross over each other with a
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