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What are Proteins? And Functions


Proteins are molecules completed up of amino acids linked by a type of bond known as peptide bonds. The order and arrangement of amino acids be contingent on the genetic code of each person. All proteins remain made up of:

  • Carbon
  • Hydrogen
  • Oxygen
  • Nitrogen

And most also contain sulfur and phosphorus.

Proteins make up about half the weight of the body’s tissues. They are present in all the body cells and participating in practically all the biological processes that take place.

Protein Functions_Proteins Functions

Of all the biomolecules, proteins play a fundamental role in the body. Thanks to their nitrogen content, they are essential for growth, not present in other molecules such as fats or carbohydrates. They are also used to synthesize and maintain various tissues or components of the body, such as gastric juices, hemoglobin, vitamins, hormones, and enzymes (the latter act as biological catalysts, increasing the rate at which they remain produced). Chemical reactions of metabolism). They also help transport certain gases through the blood, such as oxygen and carbon dioxide. They function as buffers to maintain the acid-base balance and oncotic pressure of the plasma.

Other more specific functions are, for example, those of antibodies, a type of protein that acts as a natural defense against possible infections or external agents; collagen, whose resistance function makes it essential in supporting tissues. Or myosin and actin, two muscle proteins that make movement possible, among many others.


The two main properties of proteins, which allow their existence and the correct performance of their functions, are stability and solubility.

The first refers to the fact that proteins must be stable in the environment where they remain stored or perform their function so that their half-life is as long as possible and does not generate setbacks in the body.

Regarding solubility, it denotes the fact that each protein has a temperature and a pH that must remain maintained to stabilize the bonds.

Proteins also have some other secondary properties, which depend on the chemical characteristics they possess. It is the case of specificity (its structure makes each protein perform a specific and concrete function different from the others and other molecules’ function), pH buffering (they can behave as acids or as basic. Depending on if they lose or gain electrons. And they cause the pH of tissue or compound of the organism to be maintained at the appropriate levels). Or the electrolytic size that allows them to move from the positive to the negative poles and vice versa.

Classification Of Proteins

Proteins are capable of being classified based on their shape and based on their chemical composition. Depending on their body, there are fibrous proteins (elongated and insoluble in water. Such as keratin, collagen and fibrin). Globular (spherical and compact in shape, and soluble in water. This is the case of most enzymes and antibodies and certain hormones) mixed with a fibrillar and a spherical part.


Depending on their chemical composition, there are simple proteins and conjugated proteins, also known as hemoproteins. The simple ones remain, in turn, divided into scleroproteins and hemoproteins.


Proteins are essential in the diet. The amino acids that method them can be necessary or non-essential. In the former case, they cannot remain produced by the body itself, so they must remain acquired through food. They are especially necessary for people of growing age such as children and adolescents, and pregnant women, since they make new cells possible.

High Protein Foods

They are present mainly in foods of animal origin, such as meat, fish, eggs, and milk. But they are also found in plant foods, such as soybeans, legumes, and cereals, although to a lesser extent. Its intake provides the body with 4 kilocalories for each gram of protein.

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