General Interview Questions - Polypeptide Basics

What are the general characteristics of an amino acid?

What is a peptide bond? Describe the process by which polypeptides form in cells.
What is the difference between a polypeptide and a protein?
What makes alpha helices and beta sheets so common in proteins?
Some proteins contain non-amino acid components, what are they and what do they do?
What is the role of chaperones in protein assembly?
 
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1. A polypeptide is a linear polymer of amino acids, linked together by peptide bonds.
2. Proteins are functional entities composed primarily of polypeptides and often non-polypeptide cofactors. A protein without its co-factors is known as an apoprotein.
3. All terrestrial organisms use the same set of 19 L-form amino acids and 1 imino acid, proline.
4. Translation is the process by which polypeptides are synthesized based on information carried in an mRNA sequence, a tRNA adaptor. This reaction is catalyzed by the ribosome.
5. All terrestrial organisms, with a few minor exceptions, use exactly the same the genetic code to specify polypeptide sequences synthesized by the process of translation. The exceptions primarily involved the use of stop codons to encode amino acids and the reassignment of a few codons to different amino acids.
6.The ubiquity of the genetic code indicates that it was a trait present in the last common ancestor of all organisms.
7. The presence of minor variations in the genetic code suggests that it is not a predetermined, obligate feature of the translation process, but an inherited trait.
8. Amino acids are linked together in a condensation reaction that leads to the formation of a peptide bond.
9. During translation, new amino acids are added to the –COOH (C) terminus of the growing polypeptide chain.
10. A functional protein can consist of one or more polypeptides.
11. A specific polypeptide can be part of more than one protein.
12. Amino acids are distinguished by the "R" groups, which attach to the alpha C. These R groups of different sizes: some are hydrophobic, hydrophilic, positive or negatively charged at physiological pH.

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