Proteins are required for the structure, function, and regulation of the body's cells, tissues, and organs. Each protein has unique functions. Proteins are essential components of muscles, skin, bones and the body as a whole. Protein makes up your nails, your hair, and the egg on your plate. This nitrogenous substance we call protein consists of chains of amino acids and is necessary for life functions.

Examples of proteins include whole classes of important molecules, among them enzymes, hormones, and antibodies.

Proteins are made up of hundreds or thousands of smaller units called amino acids, which are attached to one another in long chains. There are 20 different types of amino acids that can be combined to make a protein. The sequence of amino acids determines each protein’s unique 3-dimensional structure and its specific function.

Examples of protein functions

Function Description
Antibody Antibodies bind to specific foreign particles, such as viruses and bacteria, to help protect the body.
Enzyme Enzymes carry out almost all of the thousands of chemical reactions that take place in cells. They also assist with the formation of new molecules by reading the genetic information stored in DNA.
Messenger Messenger proteins, such as some types of hormones, transmit signals to coordinate biological processes between different cells, tissues, and organs.