Polymers Have Different Structures. They Also Have Different Functions. Describe How the Structures of Different Polymers Relate to Their Function?

Topics: Protein, Amino acid, Enzyme Pages: 3 (808 words) Published: March 18, 2013
Polymers have different structures. They also have different functions. Describe how the structures of different polymers relate to their function?

Polymers a large molecules made up of a chain of smaller molecules, known as monomers. The monomers that a polymer is made up of decide its structure and therefore it's function. These monomers are linked and coiled in a very specific manor giving the polymer a specific tertiary structure (an extensively coiled and linked polymer chain caused as a result of the formation of more bonds forming). This tertiary structure is crucial to the function of a polymer as it denotes the necessary shape of the complementary molecule. This is easier explained through an example.

An example of a polymer, is a protein. The monomer used to make up is an amino acid. When two amino acids join together a dipeptide is formed, this is then made into a polypeptide chain by the joining of additional amino acids, it finally becomes a protein when more than one of these polypeptide chains link to one another in a condensation reaction. Proteins have a variety of functions, these functions are determined by their shapes. For example, haemoglobin, this is a substance in the blood that transports oxygen from the respiratory organs to the rest of the body and returns the waste product carbon dioxide to be exhaled. In order to do so it must therefore have a specific shape reflecting its function; it must be folded in a particular way that allows oxygen and carbon dioxide to bind to it, and as much as possible. One haemoglobin molecule can carry four oxygen molecules each bound to a specific site. Haemoglobin has a quaternary structure. Most of the amino acids in haemoglobin form alpha helix eps, connected by short non-helical segments. Hydrogen bonds stabilise the helical sections inside this protein, causing attractions within the molecule, folding each polypeptide chain into a specific shape. Even though carbon dioxide is carried by...
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