How the protein insulin is made.

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Unit 1

Unit 1 – Human Biology

The protein I have chosen, and will discuss in further detail, is insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by the Beta cells, which are located in the pancreas, in clusters, known as the islets of Langerhans. It regulates blood sugar levels, however in diabetes there is a deficiency in production of this essential hormone. 

To start the process of protein synthesis, energy in the form of ATP (Adenosine Tri-Phosphate) is required. ATP is the main energy source for the majority of cellular functions; including protein synthesis and transportation of vital substances across the cell membrane. These vital substances include glucose and oxygen, which the cell needs for respiration, water for cells daily function, amino acids to make proteins and waste substances such as carbon dioxide and water.

The cell membrane acts as a selective barrier between the inside of the cell and the external environment, only allowing certain molecules to leave and enter; this makes it semi-permeable. The cell membrane (fig. 1) is made up of various components, the main one being the phospholipid bilayer. Phospholipids are made up of fatty acid hydrophobic tails which are aligned in two layers to face inwards, leaving the hydrophilic heads to face the outward surfaces of the cell. This structure is described as the fluid mosaic model.

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Fig. 1


This selectively permeable barrier is essential to the cells daily function as it allows substances in such as amino acids, oxygen and glucose. It also ensures all waste products such as carbon dioxide are released. There are proteins embedded within the bilayer which performs various tasks, such as; carrier and channel proteins, these are used to move materials across the surface of the cell membrane in active transport, receptors for hormones and a way of communication between cells.

Two ways substances can be transported are passively which requires no energy and actively which ...

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