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Chapter 3 Blog:  The Chemical Basis of Life II (Peter)

Page history last edited by Peter Falk 13 years, 10 months ago


A.  Daily Blog

9/10/10-  Todays was the first that didn't really seem like a novelty, and the school year has finally gotten into full swing. Today was also the first day that I realized the power-point slides are up on the wiki, which is pretty valuable information. The Main focus of todays lecture was Organic Chemistry, and the study of Carbon in biology and how and why it is so important and vital to life. One important aspect in Organic Chemistry are functional groups, which are groups of atoms with special chemical features that are functionally important. A few of these functional groups included Amino, Carbonyl, Aldehyde, Carboxyl, Hydroxyl, Methyl, phosphate, sulfate and sulfhydryl. These functional groups are significant because they bond to carbons and carry it out important and specific functions. In addition, we further expanded on isomers, and went more in-depth, discussing stereoisomers, as well as antimers (mirror image). 

Have a great weekend!


9/15/10- Todays class started off on a sour note when the text in polls that we usually start off the class and show how well the class is understanding the material going into the lecture didn't work. Todays lecture was about proteins. Hopefully it will work next time, I personally find the polls very helpful. We started off by going over the basics of proteins (composed of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and small amounts of other elements, notably sulfur), and their basic unit is amino acid, of which there are 20 different kinds. We then went over the structure of proteins and how the proteins fold to hide the hydrophobic end from water. We also learned that the different structures of protein are primary, secondary, tertiary, and quaternary.  Also, we went in-depth on the structure of amino acids, as well as the structures of proteins.


9/17/10- Todays lesson focused mainly on nucleic acids. We also discussed what a gene is (a discrete unit of DNA that codes for a functional protein). Dr. Weber was visibly frustrated with the class today during the discussion on nucleic acids, so he decided to switch it up by presenting us with a real-life lab experiment about proteins, and we discussed, summarized and analyzed the lab in small groups. The labs main focus was on whether a protein can fold into its functional structure after it has been removed from the cell. To test this the experimenters tested ribonuclease ability to break down RNA in order to establish a baseline of its protein function. Then they added agents that denatured the proteins, and observed that the protein exhibited very little functioning ability. They then removed the denaturing agents and separated the ribonuclease and found that the protein was able to retfold and exhibit function at nearly the same level as before it was denatured. This shows that proteins find their folding capabilities in the amino acid structure, not in the cellular materials around them. I enjoyed this change of pace and would prefer more activities like this in the future that break up the monotony of constant lecture.  

B.  Useful Materials



Ribonucleases of different origins with a wide spectrum of medicinal applications.

Our discussion in lecture about ribonuclease and about how it can fold without extracellular materials inspired this article choice.  This article discusses how ribnouclease, whose primary function is degradation of RNA, can be used in various therapeutic and medical applications. These applications include fighting cancer and AIDS. In addition, the journal article discusses how ribonuclease from different origins act differently on medical uses. 
  This picture shows all of the different amino acids that make up proteins. This chapter focused pretty heavily, so it is important to recognize and remember the different monomers that make up proteins. 
  This picture shows the different structures of proteins and how bonding influences the different structures that proteins take. Overall, a very useful diagram to study.  







Comments (5)

Derek Weber said

at 4:16 am on Sep 16, 2010

9/15: Updated.

Derek Weber said

at 4:49 am on Sep 23, 2010

Sorry I was frustrated. It had nothing to do with the class to be honest. One of the images is missing. I also changed the width of your table to accomodate the text. Just right click on the table and go to table properties.

Peter Falk said

at 5:57 am on Sep 23, 2010

I think when you edited the table to accommodate the text the image got removed because there wasn't enough space or something. The image can be viewed here http://www.daviddarling.info/images/aminoacids.gif , and ill try to find a way to fit the text and the image.

Peter Falk said

at 6:00 am on Sep 23, 2010

The image should show up now, along with proper text formatting.

Peter Falk said

at 6:03 am on Sep 23, 2010

Im not sure why, but the image still refuses to show up. Ill try to find different image with the same information and see if that works.

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