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The body requires amino acids to make proteins. Some amino acids can be manufactured by the body and others must be consumed by eating proteins in our diet. Ribosomes in the cell are organelles that manufacture proteins according to the DNA code. Proteins make up structural parts of cells and some important chemicals in the body are proteins like enzymes and hormones. When a ribosome assembles a protein, specific amino acids are joined to form a polypeptide. Once the entire polypeptide has been assembled, it detaches from the ribosome and folds into a 3-dimensional shape. This shape is very important and if something is wrong with the shape, the protein may have a limited function or not be functional at all. An example of this is sickle cell anemia. In this genetic disorder, the protein hemoglobin has a distorted sickle shape. The red blood cells have a shape that is less able to transport oxygen and even gets stuck in the tiniest blood vessels called capillaries. Sometimes, a normal protein can become denatured and lose its shape. For example, if an enzyme becomes denatured, it can no longer fit to its substrate. This in turn will affect how it can catalyze important chemical reactions in the body. Enzymes work at optimum temperatures and anything above or below will cause the enzyme to become denatured. This holds true for the proper ph that an enzyme needs in order to function. The improper ph can also cause an enzyme to become denatured.
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