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Intro.bio.StOlaf - Basic Concepts of Molecular Biology*from...

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Basic Concepts of Molecular Biology *from a bioinfo. point of view... To be recalled to those trained in exact sciences: nothing is 100%true Contents: 1. Life 2. Proteins 3. Nucleic Acids 4. Molecular Genetics (mechanisms). 5. How the Genome is studied 6. Sequence Databases 1
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1. Life Living organism: due to complex array of chemical reactions, exchanges constantly matter and energy with its surroundings, no deadlock. The main actors in the chemistry of life(biochemistry ) are molecules called proteins ("we are our proteins") and nucleic acids . Molecular biology research: basically devoted to the understanding of the structure and functions of proteins and nucleic acids. 2
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2. Proteins Most substances in our bodies are proteins: -structural proteins act as tissue building blocks -enzymes: act as catalyst of chemical reactions A protein is a chain of amino acids. It has a central carbon to which is attached : - a H -an amino group NH 2 - a carboxy group COOH -a side chain particular to each amino acid 3
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Protein (cont.1) In a protein, amino acids are joined y peptide bonds : the C belonging to COOH of protein A i bonds to the NH of protein A i+1 and a water molecule is liberated. What we really find inside a polypeptide chain is a residue of the original amino acid. Thus, we generally speak of proteins having 10 (typivally from 300 to 5000) residues. Repetition of blocks -N-C α -CO- is the backbone . The convention is that a polypeptide chain begins at the amino group (N-terminal) and ends at the carboxy group (C-terminal). 6
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Protein(cont.2) Structures: The primary structure is the sequence of the residues. The secondary structure takes in account local interactions between atoms of the backbone (α_helix , β-sheet , loops ).
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