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What Does Denatured Mean in Biology? 

In biology, the term Denaturation refers to a process where molecular structure diverges from its original state when bared to a denaturing agent. Examples of biomolecules that denature include proteins and nucleic acids. Talking about denaturing of proteins, Denaturation implies the destruction of the tertiary structure of a protein molecule and the formation of random polypeptide chains. 

The Denaturation of proteins results in protein structure and stability disturbances. In short, a protein’s 3D structure disrupts due to exposure to specific physical or chemical factors known as denaturants. However, denaturants may be in the form of acid, solvents, heat, radiation, etc. 

When protein is exposed to a denaturant, its structure gets altered, resulting in the loss of its innate biological functions and activities. 

What Causes The Denaturation of Proteins?

These biomolecules are required for the appropriate maintenance of bodies. The protein’s stability and structure depend on chemical and physical conditions.  

The several causes include: 

  1. pH and temperature affect their stability to a great extent. 
  2. Protein’s Denaturation is when a unique 3D structure of a protein gets exposed to some changes. 
  3. Due to temperature change, pH, or other chemical activities, the hydrogen bonds present in proteins get disturbed, resulting in the unfolding of globular proteins and helix structure’s uncoiling. 
  4. The uncoiling of helix structure affects the protein’s chemistry and leads to the loss of their biological activity. 
  5. During protein denaturation, the tertiary and secondary structures get destroyed, and only the primary one is retained. 
  6. Covalent bonds are broken, and the interaction between amino acid chains gets disrupted, which results in the loss of the biological activities of proteins. 

Protein Denaturation Processes!

  1. The secondary, tertiary, and quaternary protein structure is easily changed by a process known as Denaturation. However, these changes are pretty damaging. 
  2. Exposure to acid or bases, heating, and even violent physical action can cause Denaturation to occur. 
  3. The albumin protein in a white egg is denatured by heating to form a semisolid mass. 
  4. Denaturation of proteins can be done by bringing in some physical changes or the introduction of chemicals. 
  5. The Curdling of milk is another example of the Denaturation of proteins. 
  6. Most denaturation processes are irreversible. 
  7. A common cause of Denaturation of protein is the coagulation of white eggs when subjected to boiling. Here the Denaturation occurs with a temperature change.

Types of Denaturation!

Denaturation has two types that may be based on the cause: 

Biologically Induced Denaturation

Biologically induced denaturation is a form that takes place in biological systems. This incorporates the biologically essential DNA processes, including DNA repair, transcription, and repair. In these processes, a double-stranded DNA unwinds, and the two strands become partially separated, forming a so-called bubble.

Non-biologically induced Denaturation

The non-biologically induced Denaturation involves a process that is not biological. It is caused by other external means that can be physical or chemical. The chemicals like heavy metals and metalloids can disrupt the molecular structures and cause protein denaturation in different ways. 

For instance: the proteins are denatured when these chemicals oxidize the amino acid side chains or react through their functional side groups. Also, apart from directly disrupting the protein structure, the chemicals may induce Denaturation by changes in pH. 

What is Phagocytosis in Biology? 

Phagocytosis is a process that occurs when the living cells try to destroy foreign particles or pathogens like an infected cell or bacteria by engulfing them in lytic enzymes. The phagocytosis process is also observed in single-celled organisms like amoeba during food particles’ ingestion. 

While we talk about the human body, these cells protect the body by ingesting harmful pathogens like bacteria, viruses, and other infected cells. It is considered the vital aspect of the immune system undertaken by special cells like macrophages and neutrophils. 

Types of Phagocytosis! 

The particles commonly phagocytosed by White blood cells contain dead tissue cells, bacteria, several dust particles, protozoa, pigments, and other tiny foreign bodies. In humans, in vertebrates, the most effective phagocytic cells are two types of WBCs. One is macrophages that are large phagocytic cells, and the other is neutrophils, a kind of granulocyte. 

Macrophages: The macrophages occur in the lymph nodes, lungs, spleen, and liver, where their purpose is to free the airways, bacteria’s lymph, blood, and other particles. These are also found in all the tissues as wandering amoeboid cells. The monocyte, which is a precursor of macrophage, is located in the blood. 

Neutrophils: The neutrophils are the smaller phagocytized carried by circulating the blood until they reach an infected tissue’s area. Here they pass throughout the blood vessel wall and lodge in that particular tissue. 

Both neutrophils and macrophages are drawn towards infected areas or inflammation using substances given off by bacteria. Neutrophils may also swallow up the particles later than colliding with them unintentionally. 

What Does Phenotype Mean in Biology? 

A phenotype is defined as an observable trait or characteristic of an organism that is the outcome of gene interaction and environmental factors. These traits include physical appearances. In general, the phenotype can be defined as the total sum of an organism’s observable characteristics. 

An organism’s phenotype includes its behavioural, biochemical, and physiological properties. The phenotype is affected by environmental factors and lifestyle, and the environmental factors may include nutrition, humidity, temperature, and the organism’s mental health. 

For instance, if we talk about flamingoes, they are white in colour but turns to pink colour because of the pigments they get from their diet. Therefore the flamingoes portray clearly how they are affected by environmental factors. Also, the phenotype of an organism constantly modifies depending on environmental factors. 

What is Lumen in Biology? 

A lumen in biology refers to the inside space of a tabular structure such as an intestine or artery. Lumen comes from a Latin word that means “an opening”. For example, the endoplasmic reticulum lumen refers to the space inside the folds of ER.  

It refers to the vessel’s interior as a central space in a vein or artery through which the blood flows.  

A lumen can also be the inside space of a cellular structure such as the endoplasmic reticulum.  

It refers to: 

  • Vessel’s interior 
  • Pathways of bronchi in lungs 

When talking about cell biology, a lumen is a membrane-defined space that is found inside several organelles.  

What Does RNA Mean in Biology?  

RNA stands for Ribonucleic acid, which is a molecule similar to DNA. It helps in protein synthesis in the body, and this nucleic acid is responsible for producing new cells in the human body. RNA is usually obtained from DA molecules and resembles DNA. However, the only difference is that it has a single strand, whereas DNA has two strands. 

However, ribonucleic acid consists of only a single ribose sugar molecule in it, and so it is known as ribonucleic acid. It is also referred to as an enzyme as it facilitates chemical reaction processes in the body. 

Basic Structure of RNA

RNA has all the components same as the DNA with two chief differences. One is it has the same nitrogen bases known as Adenine, cytosine, guanine as that of DNA except for Thymine that is replaced by uracil. 

Uracil and Adenine are considered major building blocks of RNA, and both of them form a base pair with two hydrogen bonds. It resembles a hairpin-like stricture and like the nucleotides present in DNA. Nucleotides are the phosphate groups that sometimes help in nucleotides production in DNA. 

Functions of RNA! 

The RNA is composed of nucleic acid, which is involved in various functions within the cell. These are found in living organisms, including viruses, plants, animals, and bacteria. The functions of RNA includes: 

  1. RNA functions as an adapter molecule in protein synthesis. 
  2. RNA serves as a messenger between ribosomes and DNA 
  3. It promotes the ribosomes to choose the suitable amino acids 
  4. It facilitates the translation of DNAs into proteins 
  5. RNA is the genetic information carrier in all living cells. 

With this many functionalities, RNA is of different types. Let us get familiar with the RNA types. 

RNA types

1. tRNA: tRNA stands for transfer RNA responsible for choosing the suitable amino acids or proteins required by the body. tRNA is located at the endpoints of each amino acid and is also known as soluble RNA. tRNA also forms a link between the amino acid and messenger RNA. 

2. rRNA: rRNA stands for Ribosomal RNA, which is the component of the ribosome. These are located within the cell’s cytoplasm. rRNA plays a fundamental role in the translation and synthesis of mRNA into proteins. 

3. mRNA: mRNA stands for Messenger RNA, which functions by transferring genetic material into ribosomes. It also passes the instructions about the protein types. Messenger RNA is known as Messenger RNA based on its functions, and it plays a fundamental role in transcription’s process or curing protein synthesis process. 

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