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 Protein and its significance

  • Proteins are one of the most important molecules of life, with almost every biological function from birth to death being regulated by them in some way. 

  • Each protein is made up of a string of smaller building blocks called amino acids, which contain all the information to transform proteins — from a single sequence to a folded, functional 3D structure.

  • There are about 20 different amino acids that link together in different combinations

  • One’s body uses these amino acids to make new proteins, such as muscle and bone, and other compounds such as enzymes and hormones

  • The nutritional value of a protein is measured by the quantity of essential amino acids it contains.

  • Proteins are involved in the repair mechanism.

  • They serve as a defense against infections.

AI helps in predicting it's structure

  • Things changed when Google DeepMind’s protein-structure prediction software AlphaFold burst onto the scene in 2020

  • AlphaFold uses machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to accurately predict protein structures from an amino acid sequence, seemingly solving the protein-folding problem without learning any of the deeper physical principles that drive this biological process

  • The new AlphaFold 3 can predict protein-protein interactions as well as the structures of other molecules like DNA and RNA, along with the interactions of proteins with all these other compounds.

  • Unlike its predecessors, AlphaFold 3 uses a diffusion model, which is what image-generating software also uses

  • The model works by first training on protein structures, adding noise to the data, and then trying to de-noise it

  • This way, the model becomes able to work its way back from a noisy structure to a real protein structure


  • Protein folding thermodynamics can be used to identify small molecules that stabilize or destabilize the native structure of the protein, which can lead to the development of new drugs.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Protein UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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