Lesson 12 – Protein Folding

Lesson description

In this lesson, students uncover three of the great revelations of biochemistry.

1. The work of life is carried out by molecular machines called proteins, which are amino acid polymers.

2. The properties of each amino acid and their specific order in the polymer cause proteins to spontaneously fold into elaborate 3D structures.

3. All living things share a common set of proteins; at the molecular level, it is often very difficult to differentiate a human protein from a fly protein—or even from a plant protein!

By the end of the lesson, students are equipped to begin using molecular modeling software to explore protein structure at high resolution.