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Proteins: Biology's Workforce

Learn how the protein you eat keeps you alive and healthy by powering key functions from metabolism to DNA replication.

There is one session available:

27,594 already enrolled! After a course session ends, it will be archived.
Starts Oct 22
Ends Dec 31
Estimated 5 weeks
4–6 hours per week
Self-paced
Progress at your own speed
Free
Optional upgrade available

About this course

Skip About this course

Protein is found in virtually every part of your body. At least 10,000 different proteins make you what you are and keep you that way.

In this biology course you will learn how proteins drive almost all living processes.

Proteins manufactured by cells perform a broad range of essential functions — the molecular workforce of living organisms.

You will learn how proteins are the cellular manifestation of genetic information. They are assembled into a polymeric structure from monomers derived in part from components in our diet. Proteins catalyze metabolic reactions, replicate DNA, respond to stimuli, provide movement, and much more. Using video lectures, articles, case studies, and molecular models, we will explore how proteins are constructed, how they fold into 3-dimensional shapes, the kinds of bonds that hold these folded structures together, and the immense range of roles that proteins assume ‑ from structural proteins found in muscle to catalysts for cellular chemical reactions.

Purification and characterization are essential to understand protein structure and function, and we will identify a variety of methods to uncover how these tiny machines drive almost all living processes.

At a glance

  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English

What you'll learn

Skip What you'll learn
  • How proteins are structured and fold into functional forms
  • The variety of functions that proteins perform, including enzyme catalysis
  • How to purify, analyze, and characterize protein structure and function

Lecture 1: Protein Structure
Introduction tocentral concepts important for understanding biological molecules, components of proteins, and discovering how these components determine a protein's active, dynamic form.

Lecture 2: Protein Function
Examination of structure and function of the various classes of proteins, how shape determines function, how binding small molecules is important for function, and the nature of transport proteins that move materials

Lecture 3: Protein Function and Purification
Exploration of the dynamic nature and exquisite specificity of enzymes and the methods that can be used to purify a specific protein.

Lecture 4: Protein Characterization
Understanding methods that determine protein concentration, assess molecular weight, determine structure, and identify contribution to cell function.

About the instructors

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