Disinfectants are antimicrobial agents that are applied to the surface of non-living objects to destroy microorganisms that are living on the objects. Disinfection does not kill all microorganisms resistant bacterial spores. Disinfectants are different from other antimicrobial agents such as antibiotics, which destroy microorganisms within the body, antiseptics, which destroy microorganisms on living tissue. Disinfectants are different from biocides — the latter are intended to destroy all forms of life, not just microorganisms. Disinfectants work by interfering with their metabolism. Sanitizers are substances that clean and disinfect. Disinfectants kill more germs than sanitizers. Disinfectants are used in hospitals, dental surgeries and bathrooms to kill infectious organisms. Bacterial endospores are most resistant to disinfectants, but some viruses and bacteria possess some tolerance. In wastewater treatment, a disinfection step with chlorine, ultra-violet radiation or ozonation can be included as tertiary treatment to remove pathogens from wastewater, for example if it is to be reused to irrigate golf courses.
An alternative term used in the sanitation sector for disinfection of waste streams, sewage sludge or fecal sludge is sanitisation or sanitization. A perfect disinfectant would offer complete and full microbiological sterilisation, without harming humans and useful form of life, be inexpensive, noncorrosive. However, most disinfectants are by nature harmful to humans or animals. Most modern household disinfectants contain Bitrex, an exceptionally bitter substance added to discourage ingestion, as a safety measure; those that are used indoors should never be mixed with other cleaning products as chemical reactions can occur. The choice of disinfectant to be used depends on the particular situation; some disinfectants have a wide spectrum, while others kill a smaller range of disease-causing organisms but are preferred for other properties. There are arguments for creating or maintaining conditions that are not conducive to bacterial survival and multiplication, rather than attempting to kill them with chemicals.
Bacteria can increase in number quickly, which enables them to evolve rapidly. Should some bacteria survive a chemical attack, they give rise to new generations composed of bacteria that have resistance to the particular chemical used. Under a sustained chemical attack, the surviving bacteria in successive generations are resistant to the chemical used, the chemical is rendered ineffective. For this reason, some question the wisdom of impregnating cloths, cutting boards and worktops in the home with bactericidal chemicals. Air disinfectants are chemical substances capable of disinfecting microorganisms suspended in the air. Disinfectants are assumed to be limited to use on surfaces, but, not the case. In 1928, a study found. An air disinfectant must be dispersed either as an aerosol or vapour at a sufficient concentration in the air to cause the number of viable infectious microorganisms to be reduced. In the 1940s and early 1950s, further studies showed inactivation of diverse bacteria, influenza virus, Penicillium chrysogenum mold fungus using various glycols, principally propylene glycol and triethylene glycol.
In principle, these chemical substances are ideal air disinfectants because they have both high lethality to microorganisms and low mammalian toxicity. Although glycols are effective air disinfectants in controlled laboratory environments, it is more difficult to use them in real-world environments because the disinfection of air is sensitive to continuous action. Continuous action in real-world environments with outside air exchanges at door, HVAC, window interfaces, in the presence of materials that adsorb and remove glycols from the air, poses engineering challenges that are not critical for surface disinfection; the engineering challenge associated with creating a sufficient concentration of the glycol vapours in the air have not to date been sufficiently addressed. Alcohol and alcohol plus Quaternary ammonium cation based compounds comprise a class of proven surface sanitizers and disinfectants approved by the EPA and the Centers for Disease Control for use as a hospital grade disinfectant.
Alcohols are most effective when combined with distilled water to facilitate diffusion through the cell membrane. A mixture of 70% ethanol or isopropanol diluted in water is effective against a wide spectrum of bacteria, though higher concentrations are needed to disinfect wet surfaces. Additionally, high-concentration mixtures are required to inactivate lipid-enveloped viruses; the efficacy of alcohol is enhanced. The synergistic effect of 29.4% ethanol with dodecanoic acid is effective against a broad spectrum of bacteria and viruses. Further testing is being performed against Clostridium difficile spores with higher concentrations of ethanol and dodecanoic acid, which proved effective with a contact time of ten minutes. Aldehydes, such as formaldehyde and glutaraldehyde, have a wide microbiocidal activity and are sporicidal and fu
The oligodynamic effect is a biocidal effect of metals heavy metals, that occurs in low concentrations. The effect was discovered by Karl Wilhelm von Nägeli. Brass silverware both exhibit this effect to an extent; the metals react with thiol or amine groups of proteins, a mode of action to which microorganisms may develop resistance. Such resistance may be transmitted by plasmids. Aluminium acetate is used as an astringent mild antiseptic. Aluminium-based antiperspirant ingredients such as aluminium chlorohydrate, activated aluminium chlorohydrates, aluminium-zirconium-glycine complexes work by forming superficial plugs in the sweat ducts, reducing the flow of perspiration. Orthoesters of diarylstibinic acids are fungicides and bactericides, used in paints and fibers. Trivalent organic antimony was used in therapy for schistosomiasis. For many decades, arsenic was used medicinally to treat syphilis, it is still used in sheep dips, rat poisons, wood preservatives, weed killers, other pesticides. Arsenic is still used for murder by poisoning, for which use it has a long and continuing history in both literature and fact.
Barium polysulfide is a acaricide used in fruit and grape growing. Bismuth compounds have been used because of their astringent, antiphlogistic and disinfecting actions. In dermatology bismuth subgallate is still used in vulnerary salves and powders as well as in antimycotics. In the past, bismuth has been used to treat syphilis and malaria. Boric acid esters derived from glycols are being used for the control of microorganisms in fuel systems containing water. Brass vessels release a small amount of copper ions into stored water, thus killing fecal bacterial counts as high as 1 million bacteria per milliliter. Copper sulfate mixed with lime is used as a antihelminthic. Copper sulfate is used chiefly to destroy green algae that grow in reservoirs, stock ponds, swimming pools, fish tanks. Copper 8-hydroxyquinoline is sometimes included in paint to prevent mildew. Paint containing copper is used on boat bottoms to prevent barnacle growth. Gold inhibits the growth of bacteria. Physicians prescribed various forms of lead to heal ailments ranging from constipation to infectious diseases such as the plague.
Lead was used to preserve or sweeten wine. Lead arsenate is used in herbicides; some organic lead compounds are used as industrial biocides: thiomethyl triphenyllead is used as an antifungal agent, cotton preservative, lubricant additive. Phenylmercuric borate and acetate were used for disinfecting mucous membranes at an effective concentration of 0.07% in aqueous solutions. Due to toxicological and ecotoxicological reasons phenylmercury salts are no longer in use. However, some surgeons use mercurochrome despite toxicological objections. Dental amalgam used in fillings inhibits bacterial reproduction. Organic mercury compounds have been used as topical disinfectants and preservatives in medical preparations and grain products. Mercury was used in the treatment of syphilis. Calomel was used in infant teething powders in the 1930s and 1940s. Mercurials are used agriculturally as insecticides and fungicides; the toxicity of nickel to bacteria and fungi differs considerably. The metabolism of bacteria is adversely affected by silver ions at concentrations of 0.01–0.1 mg/L.
Therefore less soluble silver compounds, such as silver chloride act as bactericides or germicides, but not the much less soluble silver sulfide. In the presence of atmospheric oxygen, metallic silver has a bactericidal effect due to the formation of silver oxide, soluble enough to cause it. Bactericidal concentrations are reduced by adding colloidal silver, which has a high surface area. Objects with a solid silver surface have a bactericidal effect. Silver drinking vessels were carried by military commanders on expeditions for protection against disease, it was once common to place silver foil or silver coins on wounds for the same reason. Silver sulfadiazine is used as an antiseptic ointment for extensive burns. An equilibrium dispersion of colloidal silver with dissolved silver ions can be used to purify drinking water at sea. Silver is incorporated into medical devices such as catheters. Surfacine is a new antimicrobial for application to surfaces. Silver-impregnated wound dressings have proven useful against antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Silver nitrate is used as a hemostatic and astringent. At one time, many states required that the eyes of newborns be treated with a few drops of silver nitrate to guard against an infection of the eyes called gonorrheal neonatal ophthalmia, which the infants might have contracted as they passed through the birth canal. Silver ions are incorporated into many hard surfaces, such as plastics and steel, as a way to control microbial growth on items such as toilet seats and refrigerator doors. Among the newer products being sold are plastic food containers infused with silver nanoparticies, which are intended to keep food fresher, silver-infused athletic shirts and socks, which claim to minimize odors. Thallium compounds such as thallium
A drug is any substance that, when inhaled, smoked, absorbed via a patch on the skin, or dissolved under the tongue causes a physiological change in the body. In pharmacology, a drug is a chemical substance of known structure, other than a nutrient of an essential dietary ingredient, when administered to a living organism, produces a biological effect. A pharmaceutical drug called a medication or medicine, is a chemical substance used to treat, prevent, or diagnose a disease or to promote well-being. Traditionally drugs were obtained through extraction from medicinal plants, but more also by organic synthesis. Pharmaceutical drugs may be used for a limited duration, or on a regular basis for chronic disorders. Pharmaceutical drugs are classified into drug classes—groups of related drugs that have similar chemical structures, the same mechanism of action, a related mode of action, that are used to treat the same disease; the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical Classification System, the most used drug classification system, assigns drugs a unique ATC code, an alphanumeric code that assigns it to specific drug classes within the ATC system.
Another major classification system is the Biopharmaceutics Classification System. This classifies drugs according to their permeability or absorption properties. Psychoactive drugs are chemical substances that affect the function of the central nervous system, altering perception, mood or consciousness, they include alcohol, a depressant, the stimulants nicotine and caffeine. These three are the most consumed psychoactive drugs worldwide and are considered recreational drugs since they are used for pleasure rather than medicinal purposes. Other recreational drugs include hallucinogens and amphetamines and some of these are used in spiritual or religious settings; some drugs can cause addiction and all drugs can have side effects. Excessive use of stimulants can promote stimulant psychosis. Many recreational drugs are illicit and international treaties such as the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs exist for the purpose of their prohibition. In English, the noun "drug" is thought to originate from Old French "drogue" deriving into "droge-vate" from Middle Dutch meaning "dry barrels", referring to medicinal plants preserved in them.
The transitive verb "to drug" arose and invokes the psychoactive rather than medicinal properties of a substance. A medication or medicine is a drug taken to cure or ameliorate any symptoms of an illness or medical condition; the use may be as preventive medicine that has future benefits but does not treat any existing or pre-existing diseases or symptoms. Dispensing of medication is regulated by governments into three categories—over-the-counter medications, which are available in pharmacies and supermarkets without special restrictions. In the United Kingdom, behind-the-counter medicines are called pharmacy medicines which can only be sold in registered pharmacies, by or under the supervision of a pharmacist; these medications are designated by the letter P on the label. The range of medicines available without a prescription varies from country to country. Medications are produced by pharmaceutical companies and are patented to give the developer exclusive rights to produce them; those that are not patented are called generic drugs since they can be produced by other companies without restrictions or licenses from the patent holder.
Pharmaceutical drugs are categorised into drug classes. A group of drugs will share a similar chemical structure, or have the same mechanism of action, the same related mode of action or target the same illness or related illnesses; the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical Classification System, the most used drug classification system, assigns drugs a unique ATC code, an alphanumeric code that assigns it to specific drug classes within the ATC system. Another major classification system is the Biopharmaceutics Classification System; this groups drugs according to their permeability or absorption properties. Some religions ethnic religions are based on the use of certain drugs, known as entheogens, which are hallucinogens,—psychedelics, dissociatives, or deliriants; some drugs used as entheogens include kava which can act as a stimulant, a sedative, a euphoriant and an anesthetic. The roots of the kava plant are used to produce a drink, consumed throughout the cultures of the Pacific Ocean; some shamans from different cultures use entheogens, defined as "generating the divine within" to achieve religious ecstasy.
Amazonian shamans use ayahuasca a hallucinogenic brew for this purpose. Mazatec shamans have a long and continuous tradition of religious use of Salvia divinorum a psychoactive plant, its use is to facilitate visionary states of consciousness during spiritual healing sessions. Silene undulata is used as an entheogen, its root is traditionally used to induce vivid lucid dreams during the initiation process of shamans, classifying it a occurring oneirogen similar to the more well-known dream herb Calea ternifolia. Peyote a small spineless cactus has been a
Deoxyribonucleic acid is a molecule composed of two chains that coil around each other to form a double helix carrying the genetic instructions used in the growth, development and reproduction of all known organisms and many viruses. DNA and ribonucleic acid are nucleic acids; the two DNA strands are known as polynucleotides as they are composed of simpler monomeric units called nucleotides. Each nucleotide is composed of one of four nitrogen-containing nucleobases, a sugar called deoxyribose, a phosphate group; the nucleotides are joined to one another in a chain by covalent bonds between the sugar of one nucleotide and the phosphate of the next, resulting in an alternating sugar-phosphate backbone. The nitrogenous bases of the two separate polynucleotide strands are bound together, according to base pairing rules, with hydrogen bonds to make double-stranded DNA; the complementary nitrogenous bases are divided into two groups and purines. In DNA, the pyrimidines are cytosine. Both strands of double-stranded DNA store the same biological information.
This information is replicated as and when the two strands separate. A large part of DNA is non-coding, meaning that these sections do not serve as patterns for protein sequences; the two strands of DNA are thus antiparallel. Attached to each sugar is one of four types of nucleobases, it is the sequence of these four nucleobases along the backbone. RNA strands are created using DNA strands as a template in a process called transcription. Under the genetic code, these RNA strands specify the sequence of amino acids within proteins in a process called translation. Within eukaryotic cells, DNA is organized into long structures called chromosomes. Before typical cell division, these chromosomes are duplicated in the process of DNA replication, providing a complete set of chromosomes for each daughter cell. Eukaryotic organisms store most of their DNA inside the cell nucleus as nuclear DNA, some in the mitochondria as mitochondrial DNA, or in chloroplasts as chloroplast DNA. In contrast, prokaryotes store their DNA only in circular chromosomes.
Within eukaryotic chromosomes, chromatin proteins, such as histones and organize DNA. These compacting structures guide the interactions between DNA and other proteins, helping control which parts of the DNA are transcribed. DNA was first isolated by Friedrich Miescher in 1869, its molecular structure was first identified by Francis Crick and James Watson at the Cavendish Laboratory within the University of Cambridge in 1953, whose model-building efforts were guided by X-ray diffraction data acquired by Raymond Gosling, a post-graduate student of Rosalind Franklin. DNA is used by researchers as a molecular tool to explore physical laws and theories, such as the ergodic theorem and the theory of elasticity; the unique material properties of DNA have made it an attractive molecule for material scientists and engineers interested in micro- and nano-fabrication. Among notable advances in this field are DNA origami and DNA-based hybrid materials. DNA is a long polymer made from repeating units called nucleotides.
The structure of DNA is dynamic along its length, being capable of coiling into tight loops and other shapes. In all species it is composed of two helical chains, bound to each other by hydrogen bonds. Both chains are coiled around the same axis, have the same pitch of 34 angstroms; the pair of chains has a radius of 10 angstroms. According to another study, when measured in a different solution, the DNA chain measured 22 to 26 angstroms wide, one nucleotide unit measured 3.3 Å long. Although each individual nucleotide is small, a DNA polymer can be large and contain hundreds of millions, such as in chromosome 1. Chromosome 1 is the largest human chromosome with 220 million base pairs, would be 85 mm long if straightened. DNA does not exist as a single strand, but instead as a pair of strands that are held together; these two long strands coil in the shape of a double helix. The nucleotide contains both a segment of the backbone of a nucleobase. A nucleobase linked to a sugar is called a nucleoside, a base linked to a sugar and to one or more phosphate groups is called a nucleotide.
A biopolymer comprising multiple linked nucleotides is called a polynucleotide. The backbone of the DNA strand is made from alternating sugar residues; the sugar in DNA is 2-deoxyribose, a pentose sugar. The sugars are joined together by phosphate groups that form phosphodiester bonds between the third and fifth carbon atoms of adjacent sugar rings; these are known as the 3′-end, 5′-end carbons, the prime symbol being used to distinguish these carbon atoms from those of the base to which the deoxyribose forms a glycosidic bond. When imagining DNA, each phosphoryl is considered to "belong" to the nucleotide whose 5′ carbon forms a bond therewith. Any DNA strand therefore has one end at which there is a phosphoryl attached to the 5′ carbon of a ribose and another end a
A receptor antagonist is a type of receptor ligand or drug that blocks or dampens a biological response by binding to and blocking a receptor rather than activating it like an agonist. They are sometimes called blockers. In pharmacology, antagonists have affinity but no efficacy for their cognate receptors, binding will disrupt the interaction and inhibit the function of an agonist or inverse agonist at receptors. Antagonists mediate their effects by binding to the active site or to the allosteric site on a receptor, or they may interact at unique binding sites not involved in the biological regulation of the receptor's activity. Antagonist activity may be reversible or irreversible depending on the longevity of the antagonist–receptor complex, which, in turn, depends on the nature of antagonist–receptor binding; the majority of drug antagonists achieve their potency by competing with endogenous ligands or substrates at structurally defined binding sites on receptors. The English word antagonist in pharmaceutical terms comes from the Greek ἀνταγωνιστής – antagonistēs, "opponent, villain, rival", derived from anti- and agonizesthai.
Biochemical receptors are large protein molecules that can be activated by the binding of a ligand such as a hormone or a drug. Receptors can be membrane-bound, as cell surface receptors, or inside the cell as intracellular receptors, such as nuclear receptors including those of the mitochondrion. Binding occurs as a result of non-covalent interactions between the receptor and its ligand, at locations called the binding site on the receptor. A receptor may contain one or more binding sites for different ligands. Binding to the active site on the receptor regulates receptor activation directly; the activity of receptors can be regulated by the binding of a ligand to other sites on the receptor, as in allosteric binding sites. Antagonists mediate their effects through receptor interactions by preventing agonist-induced responses; this may be accomplished by binding to the allosteric site. In addition, antagonists may interact at unique binding sites not involved in the biological regulation of the receptor's activity to exert their effects.
The term antagonist was coined to describe different profiles of drug effects. The biochemical definition of a receptor antagonist was introduced by Ariens and Stephenson in the 1950s; the current accepted definition of receptor antagonist is based on the receptor occupancy model. It narrows the definition of antagonism to consider only those compounds with opposing activities at a single receptor. Agonists were thought to turn "on" a single cellular response by binding to the receptor, thus initiating a biochemical mechanism for change within a cell. Antagonists were thought to turn "off" that response by'blocking' the receptor from the agonist; this definition remains in use for physiological antagonists, substances that have opposing physiological actions, but act at different receptors. For example, histamine lowers arterial pressure through vasodilation at the histamine H1 receptor, while adrenaline raises arterial pressure through vasoconstriction mediated by alpha-adrenergic receptor activation.
Our understanding of the mechanism of drug-induced receptor activation and receptor theory and the biochemical definition of a receptor antagonist continues to evolve. The two-state model of receptor activation has given way to multistate models with intermediate conformational states; the discovery of functional selectivity and that ligand-specific receptor conformations occur and can affect interaction of receptors with different second messenger systems may mean that drugs can be designed to activate some of the downstream functions of a receptor but not others. This means efficacy may depend on where that receptor is expressed, altering the view that efficacy at a receptor is receptor-independent property of a drug. By definition, antagonists display no efficacy to activate the receptors they bind. Antagonists do not maintain the ability to activate a receptor. Once bound, antagonists inhibit the function of agonists, inverse agonists, partial agonists. In functional antagonist assays, a dose-response curve measures the effect of the ability of a range of concentrations of antagonists to reverse the activity of an agonist.
The potency of an antagonist is defined by its half maximal inhibitory concentration. This can be calculated for a given antagonist by determining the concentration of antagonist needed to elicit half inhibition of the maximum biological response of an agonist. Elucidating an IC50 value is useful for comparing the potency of drugs with similar efficacies, however the dose-response curves produced by both drug antagonists must be similar; the lower the IC50 the greater the potency of the antagonist, the lower the concentration of drug, required to inhibit the maximum biological response. Lower concentrations of drugs may be associated with fewer side-effects; the affinity of an antagonist for its binding site, i.e. its ability to bind to a receptor, will determine the duration of inhibition of agonist activity. The affinity of an antagonist can be determined experimentally using Schild regression or for competitive antagonists in radioligand binding studies using the Cheng-Prusoff equation. Schild regression can be used to determine the nature of antagonism as beginning either competitive or non-competitive and Ki determination is independent of the affinity, efficacy or concentration of the agonist used.
However, it is important. The effects of receptor desensitization on reaching equilibrium must als
Pharmacology is the branch of biology concerned with the study of drug action, where a drug can be broadly defined as any man-made, natural, or endogenous molecule which exerts a biochemical or physiological effect on the cell, organ, or organism. More it is the study of the interactions that occur between a living organism and chemicals that affect normal or abnormal biochemical function. If substances have medicinal properties, they are considered pharmaceuticals; the field encompasses drug composition and properties and drug design and cellular mechanisms, organ/systems mechanisms, signal transduction/cellular communication, molecular diagnostics, toxicology, chemical biology and medical applications and antipathogenic capabilities. The two main areas of pharmacology are pharmacokinetics. Pharmacodynamics studies the effects of a drug on biological systems, Pharmacokinetics studies the effects of biological systems on a drug. In broad terms, pharmacodynamics discusses the chemicals with biological receptors, pharmacokinetics discusses the absorption, distribution and excretion of chemicals from the biological systems.
Pharmacology is not synonymous with pharmacy and the two terms are confused. Pharmacology, a biomedical science, deals with the research and characterization of chemicals which show biological effects and the elucidation of cellular and organismal function in relation to these chemicals. In contrast, pharmacy, a health services profession, is concerned with application of the principles learned from pharmacology in its clinical settings. In either field, the primary contrast between the two are their distinctions between direct-patient care, for pharmacy practice, the science-oriented research field, driven by pharmacology; the origins of clinical pharmacology date back to the Middle Ages in Avicenna's The Canon of Medicine, Peter of Spain's Commentary on Isaac, John of St Amand's Commentary on the Antedotary of Nicholas. Clinical pharmacology owes much of its foundation to the work of William Withering. Pharmacology as a scientific discipline did not further advance until the mid-19th century amid the great biomedical resurgence of that period.
Before the second half of the nineteenth century, the remarkable potency and specificity of the actions of drugs such as morphine and digitalis were explained vaguely and with reference to extraordinary chemical powers and affinities to certain organs or tissues. The first pharmacology department was set up by Rudolf Buchheim in 1847, in recognition of the need to understand how therapeutic drugs and poisons produced their effects. Early pharmacologists focused on natural substances plant extracts. Pharmacology developed in the 19th century as a biomedical science that applied the principles of scientific experimentation to therapeutic contexts. Today pharmacologists use genetics, molecular biology and other advanced tools to transform information about molecular mechanisms and targets into therapies directed against disease, defects or pathogens, create methods for preventative care and personalized medicine; the word "pharmacology" is derived from Greek φάρμακον, pharmakon, "drug, spell" and -λογία, -logia "study of", "knowledge of".
The discipline of pharmacology can be divided into many sub disciplines each with a specific focus. Clinical pharmacology is the basic science of pharmacology with an added focus on the application of pharmacological principles and methods in the medical clinic and towards patient care and outcomes. Neuropharmacology is the study of the effects of medication on central and peripheral nervous system functioning. Psychopharmacology known as behavioral pharmacology, is the study of the effects of medication on the psyche, observing changed behaviors of the body and mind, how molecular events are manifest in a measurable behavioral form. Psychopharmacology is an interdisciplinary field which studies behavioral effects of psychoactive drugs, it incorporates approaches and techniques from neuropharmacology, animal behavior and behavioral neuroscience, is interested in the behavioral and neurobiological mechanisms of action of psychoactive drugs. Another goal of behavioral pharmacology is to develop animal behavioral models to screen chemical compounds with therapeutic potentials.
People in this field use small animals to study psychotherapeutic drugs such as antipsychotics and anxiolytics, drugs of abuse such as nicotine and methamphetamine. Ethopharmacology is a term, in use since the 1960s and derives from the Greek word ἦθος ethos meaning character and "pharmacology" the study of drug actions and mechanism. Cardiovascular pharmacology is the study of the effects of drugs on the entire cardiovascular system, including the heart and blood vessels. Pharmacogenetics is clinical testing of genetic variation that gives rise to differing response to drugs. Pharmacogenomics is the application of genomic technologies to drug discovery and further characterization of older drugs. Pharmacoepidemiology is the study of the effects of drugs in large numbers of people. Safety pharmacology specialises in detecting and investigating potential undesirable pharmacodynamic effects of new chemical entities on physiological functions in relation to exposure in the therapeutic range and above.
Systems pharmacology is
Proteins are large biomolecules, or macromolecules, consisting of one or more long chains of amino acid residues. Proteins perform a vast array of functions within organisms, including catalysing metabolic reactions, DNA replication, responding to stimuli, providing structure to cells and organisms, transporting molecules from one location to another. Proteins differ from one another in their sequence of amino acids, dictated by the nucleotide sequence of their genes, which results in protein folding into a specific three-dimensional structure that determines its activity. A linear chain of amino acid residues is called a polypeptide. A protein contains at least one long polypeptide. Short polypeptides, containing less than 20–30 residues, are considered to be proteins and are called peptides, or sometimes oligopeptides; the individual amino acid residues are bonded together by peptide bonds and adjacent amino acid residues. The sequence of amino acid residues in a protein is defined by the sequence of a gene, encoded in the genetic code.
In general, the genetic code specifies 20 standard amino acids. Shortly after or during synthesis, the residues in a protein are chemically modified by post-translational modification, which alters the physical and chemical properties, stability and the function of the proteins. Sometimes proteins have non-peptide groups attached, which can be called prosthetic groups or cofactors. Proteins can work together to achieve a particular function, they associate to form stable protein complexes. Once formed, proteins only exist for a certain period and are degraded and recycled by the cell's machinery through the process of protein turnover. A protein's lifespan covers a wide range, they can exist for years with an average lifespan of 1 -- 2 days in mammalian cells. Abnormal or misfolded proteins are degraded more either due to being targeted for destruction or due to being unstable. Like other biological macromolecules such as polysaccharides and nucleic acids, proteins are essential parts of organisms and participate in every process within cells.
Many proteins are enzymes that are vital to metabolism. Proteins have structural or mechanical functions, such as actin and myosin in muscle and the proteins in the cytoskeleton, which form a system of scaffolding that maintains cell shape. Other proteins are important in cell signaling, immune responses, cell adhesion, the cell cycle. In animals, proteins are needed in the diet to provide the essential amino acids that cannot be synthesized. Digestion breaks the proteins down for use in the metabolism. Proteins may be purified from other cellular components using a variety of techniques such as ultracentrifugation, precipitation and chromatography. Methods used to study protein structure and function include immunohistochemistry, site-directed mutagenesis, X-ray crystallography, nuclear magnetic resonance and mass spectrometry. Most proteins consist of linear polymers built from series of up to 20 different L-α- amino acids. All proteinogenic amino acids possess common structural features, including an α-carbon to which an amino group, a carboxyl group, a variable side chain are bonded.
Only proline differs from this basic structure as it contains an unusual ring to the N-end amine group, which forces the CO–NH amide moiety into a fixed conformation. The side chains of the standard amino acids, detailed in the list of standard amino acids, have a great variety of chemical structures and properties; the amino acids in a polypeptide chain are linked by peptide bonds. Once linked in the protein chain, an individual amino acid is called a residue, the linked series of carbon and oxygen atoms are known as the main chain or protein backbone; the peptide bond has two resonance forms that contribute some double-bond character and inhibit rotation around its axis, so that the alpha carbons are coplanar. The other two dihedral angles in the peptide bond determine the local shape assumed by the protein backbone; the end with a free amino group is known as the N-terminus or amino terminus, whereas the end of the protein with a free carboxyl group is known as the C-terminus or carboxy terminus.
The words protein and peptide are a little ambiguous and can overlap in meaning. Protein is used to refer to the complete biological molecule in a stable conformation, whereas peptide is reserved for a short amino acid oligomers lacking a stable three-dimensional structure. However, the boundary between the two is not well defined and lies near 20–30 residues. Polypeptide can refer to any single linear chain of amino acids regardless of length, but implies an absence of a defined conformation. Proteins can interact with many types of molecules, including with other proteins, with lipids, with carboyhydrates, with DNA, it has been estimated. Smaller bacteria, such as Mycoplasma or spirochetes contain fewer molecules, on the order of 50,000 to 1 million. By contrast, eukaryotic cells are larger and thus contain much more pro