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Articles on Proteins

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Just 20 amino acids for chains in various combinations to create the thousands of varieties of proteins in our body. David Goodsell/ProteinDatabase

What is a protein? A biologist explains

A biologist explains where proteins come from and what role the 20,000 or so proteins in your body play in keeping you alive and kicking.
One slice is never enough. Radu Bercan/

Why does pizza taste so good?

Pizza might seem like a simple food, but it's uniquely equipped to excite our brains and thrill our taste buds.
Spider glue is actually a specialized silk protein. Sarah Stellwagen

Spider glue’s sticky secret revealed by new genetic research

The glue that gives spider webs their stickiness is a form of spider silk protein. Researchers can imagine cool uses for a synthetic version – but had to wait for the tricky glue gene to be sequenced.
Watching bacteria and viruses duke it out, evolving to outwit each other. UC San Diego

Discovery of a surprise multitasking gene helps explain how new functions and features evolve

A core idea in molecular biology is that one gene codes for one protein. Now biologists have found an example of a gene that yields two forms of a protein – enabling it to evolve new functionality.
Cryo-electron microscopy resolution continues to improve. Veronica Falconieri, Sriram Subramaniam, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health

Chilled proteins and 3-D images: The cryo-electron microscopy technology that just won a Nobel Prize

The 2017 Nobel Prize in chemistry goes to three scientists who revolutionized biochemistry by inventing a technology that can image the molecules of life without destroying them.
General anesthetics affect cellular proteins to knock us out. Some do so better than others, especially the noble gas Xenon. (Shutterstock)

Science lesson: How anesthetics work, and why xenon’s perfect

How do anesthetics work, and what makes for an ideal anesthetic? It's not as mysterious as once believed, and there's a gas that ticks all the boxes for a perfect anesthetic: xenon.
The cells inside this bioreactor are the real pharmaceutical factories. Sanofi Pasteur

Biologics: The pricey drugs transforming medicine

Rather than being designed by chemists, this class of pharmaceuticals is produced by living cells. Here's where they come from and how they work.

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