Question: What kinds of jobs are proteins responsible for in the human body?

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  1. David,
    Proteins are so very important in the human body. It is estimated that the human body contains somewhere between 30,000 and 50,000 unique proteins. So many! Well there have to be so many given how many different task proteins do for us on a daily basis Their roles are very vast:
    1. Protein gives you energy,
    2. Proteins help with your growth,
    3. Proteins helps grow as well as repair cells,
    4. Proteins produces neurotransmtitters that keeps the brain moving smoothly,
    5. Proteins give your body other nutrients that it needs to function 100%,
    6. Proteins make up hair, muscles, nails, tendons, ligaments, and other Body structures.
    7. Proteins function as enzymes, hormones, and important components of other cells.

    That is just a few of the things that proteins do in your body! 🙂


  2. Hey davidmcafeescience, awesome question! Very big topic – the study of all proteins is called proteomics (if you wanted to read a little more).

    I’m gonna go out on a limb and call Mia out here… There are roughly 30,000 genes in our body. These genes are stretched of DNA coding for proteins. But each piece of DNA can code for more than one protein! Firstly, there are things called splice variants. This is when a gene is chopped up and can be glued back with other pieces of DNA to make a completely different protein (this is meant to happen, and is programmed. How do cells do it so accurately? We’re still trying to find out). Secondly, scientists have now found there there are genes that code for more than 1 protein! The same piece of DNA making 2 proteins! How crazy!

    Because of this, there is estimated to be anywhere from at least 100,000 different proteins, to a couple of million!

    As Mia said, they do so many things, almost everything! In doing the things that Mia said, proteins can chop DNA, they can chop other proteins, they can attach chemicals to other proteins or DNA, they can work together to move chemicals, they can even unfold and refold proteins when they are broken! Proteins are certainly incredible, and if you think of any process in your body, there is likely to be a protein behind it making it work.

    As a matter of fact, let’s have a couple of examples. What’s a process that interests you? I’ll give you a brief rundown on the proteins behind it!


  3. Davidmcafeescience, *this* is exactly why my group studies enzymes!

    Like Mia and Sam have said, proteins run the world!! Or at least, the world of your body.

    Enzymes are (in my opinion) the reason we can live, the reason we have evolved at all! They’re the perfect combo of biology determined by DNA, and functionality, their amazing ability to do all kinds of complex chemistry.

    For the past 100 years, chemists have been trying to do in labs what your body does already! We are now starting to learn more from those enzymes and use them to do complex chemistry OUTSIDE your body too!

    Break down toxins, repair cells, rearrange DNA, wash your clothes (!), find drug cheats in sports, trace neural signals in your brain, *all* sorts of stuff that we can now do outside your body but learned from the proteins inside.

    Enzymes are the best. No question about it! : )


  4. They keep cells running! They are responsible for sooo many things they are the building blocks of cells and the body (see Mia’s list!).



  1. My apologies to David, I wanted to say 30,000-50,000 unique protein CODING GENES. So thank you Sam for being picky 😉 After doing some more internet research turns out that human body has the ability to generate 2 million different types of proteins, coded by only 20,000-25,000 of our genes. The sum of proteins in biological organisms exceeds 10 million, but nobody has a clear picture of this. Too many proteins to count! :S It is why I like DNA better! lol


  2. Thanks for all your responses. They were all very informative and fascinating.