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3. Amino Acids and Proteins

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In this mini-lecture we look at amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. Why do we call them amino acids? How do they exist in nature? We start this lecture by answering these questions. We then look at the chemical structures of all 20 amino acids, understanding briefly how side chains with different functional groups can alter its chemical nature. Next, we learn about how amino acids can polymerise, and how the polymerisation of amino acids leads to polypeptides and eventually proteins. Zooming out, we distinguish between the different structures of a protein: the primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary structures. We turn to the structure and function of specific types of proteins, and learn how their different shapes aid in their function.


In this course Prof. Sabine Flitsch (University of Manchester) introduces biomolecules. What do we mean when we say ‘biomolecule’, and what kinds of biomolecules exist? Modern research spans biomolecules of all sorts, and we introduce: (i) the classes of biomolecules that make up an organism in order of hierarchy; the genome, the transcriptome, the proteome, and the metabolome; (ii) the nucleic acids, DNA and RNA, their structure and function and uses in medicine and biotechnology; (iii) the structure and function of proteins and their building blocks, amino acids; and (iv) sugars, looking some of at their monomeric structures, as well as learning about their polymers.


Prof. Sabine Flitsch is a Professor of Chemistry and Chair of Chemical Biology at the University of Manchester. Her research group is housed in the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology. Her research interests are in glycosciences, biocatalysis, and protein-ligand interactions. Most recently, she has started to use biocatalysts on substrates attached to the solid phase, which are of interest in high-throughput chemical synthesis and biological analysis. For her work, she has won the RSC Interdisciplinary Prize, the Zeneca Research Award and the Glaxo Wellcome award for Innovative Chemistry.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Flitsch, S. (2022, January 12). Biomolecules - Amino Acids and Proteins [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Flitsch, Sabine. "Biomolecules – Amino Acids and Proteins." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 12 Jan 2022,

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