Monomeric Proteins: Structure, Formation, Examples | tour (2023)

protein monomers

Proteins are essential substances for all living things. They help with various biological functions. That is why they are called the building blocks of life. They have their unique structures and functions.

But did you know that they also consist of some smaller units? What are these microunits called? Why are proteins compared to polymers? What are protein monomers?

This article aims to enable you to get answers to all these questions. let's dive in

Monomer History

As a science student, you know that many chemicals are made up of small units. These tiny units play a crucial role in the birth of plastic. After the development of plastic, researchers became interested in these small units. As a result, different hybrid structures have been developed from these small units by polymerization and copolymerization.

During industrialization, organic chemistry developed relatively quickly. The diversification of structures led to the emergence of petrochemical products.

What are monomers?

The term "monomer" is formed by joining two words "mono" and "mer".

(Video) Protein Structure and Folding

Monomers, or small units, are molecules that chemically combine with other molecules, the same or different, to form a long chain. Through the polymerization process, they form long, repeating chain molecules. These small units can be synthetic or natural.

The term polymer is used when an indefinite number of monomeric units join together to form a long chain. Simply put, polymers are complex structures of multiple monomer units. When fewer than 100 monomer units are chemically linked to form a polymer, these polymers are called oligomers.

What are proteins?

The essential polymeric units for living things are called proteins. Proteins are biopolymers that contain amino acids as monomeric units. Chemically, proteins are the types of condensation polymers where the monomer units are 𝛼-amino acids. Proteins are formed through the covalent bonding of elements such as nitrogen, oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen. Some proteins also contain trace amounts of sulfur, iodine, and phosphorus.

Proteins are formed by linking together multiple monomeric units. They contain one or more polypeptide chains. Each polypeptide chain is formed by connecting many amino acids with chemical bonds called peptide bonds. The amino acid sequence is determined using the gene that codes for a particular protein.

After the formation of the polypeptide chain, it is transformed into a specific three-dimensional structure. This structure is different for each polypeptide chain.

(Video) Protein Structure

protein structure

The protein structure mainly consists of four monomeric protein structures. These are quaternary, secondary, tertiary and primary structures.

  • primary structure:Proteins are rolled into spirals and folded sheets. The amino acid sequence controls the primary structure of proteins.
  • secondary structure:The hydrogen bonds that connect amino acids determine the secondary structure of proteins. H bonds can only be broken by temperature rise or acidic properties.
  • tertiary structure:The sulfur atoms in the amino acids are firmly connected by the peptide bond.
  • Quaternary structure:Within this framework, individual units are linked to spatial disorientation.

How are proteins formed?

The main structural and functional unit of the polymer is the monomer. These monomers are fundamental components of polymers. Amino acids are known as protein monomers. They come together in large numbers and are connected through peptide bonds that form polypeptide chains. Large proteins are formed when two or more polypeptide chains join together. The amino acid sequence determines the function and structure of a protein.

Protein monomers are molecules that fuse to form numerous protein complexes. Polymers made from organic monomers found in living organisms are biopolymers. Monomers fall into different classes, such as alcohols, sugars, acrylics, amines, and epoxides.

All living organisms have cells with many large molecules, such as polysaccharides, nucleic acids, and proteins. These macromolecules even have microstructures or units that combine in large numbers. These microstructures macro numbers as monomers. The union creates macromolecules or polymers from some monomers.

This monomer combines into a long chain of molecules, which is only possible thanks to the presence of carbon and its reactive properties. In this way, they can form different chains of protein monomers.

What do you mean by a protein monomer?

Proteins and nucleic acids are the basic requirements of all living cells. The elementary units of these protein monomers are amino acids. Therefore, it is more accurate to say that proteins are made up of monomers called amino acids. The binding of protein monomers occurs through polymerization. These constituent protein monomers are even more critical in life processes.

(Video) Biomolecules (Updated)

As a result, the construction of protein polymers can be understood by controlling the conditions and performing amino acid polymerization. Repeating this process creates some comparatively simpler amino acids, such as sugars and nucleotides. With the help of this similar process, various biomolecules adopt patterns.

Building blocks or elementary units: protein monomers

Proteins are made up of a few microunits. These microunits are commonly known as monomers and, in the case of protein monomers, are called amino acids.

Twenty different amino acids make up all the proteins in the biological system in a different order. The order in which the amino acids are arranged is called the primary structure of a protein. Chemically, an amino acid molecule consists of three groups, namely amino group (-NH2), carboxylic acid group (-COOH) and side chain (R group). The side chain (R group) is specific to each amino acid. The simplest amino acid, glycine, contains a hydrogen atom in the R group.

Also, some other types of protein monomers depend on the size of the molecules. Usually, these elemental units are classified into essential and non-essential components of proteins based on the requirement. You may be surprised to learn that approximately ninety thousand protein assemblies or combinations make up these amino acids.

Examples of Protein Monomers

A total of 20 examples of protein monomers are present in living things. These are divided into two classes, namely essential proteins that are necessary for life and non-essential proteins that are not so important. These fall into three categories, namely hydrophilic (or water-loving), hydrophobic (or water-repellent), and those that neither repel nor love water.

These 20 are examples of protein monomers.

1. Hydrophilic or water-loving protein monomer:

  • Asparagus (Asn)
  • Glutamina (Gln)
  • Lys
  • Aspartic Acid (Asp)
  • Glutamic acid (Glu)
  • Histidine (to be)
  • Arginina (Arg)

2. Hydrophobic or water repellent protein monomer:

(Video) Protein Synthesis (Updated)

  • Selected (Selected)
  • Isoleucine (Ile)
  • Phenylalanine (Phe)
  • Leucine (Leu)
  • Methionine (Met)
  • Cysteine ​​(Cys)

3. Protein Monomer That Does Not Love Or Repel Water:

  • Glicina (Gly)
  • Brilliant (nature)
  • Tyrosine (Tyr)
  • Proline (Pro)
  • orange (wing)
  • Treonina (Thr)
  • tryptophan(Trp)


Simply put, monomers are the building blocks of proteins. In the case of proteins, the building blocks are amino acids linked by amide bonds to form the backbone of the protein (the polymer). Twenty amino acid monomers are used to build proteins, and as a group, each contains C, H, O, N, and two contain S.

Each protein has a different sequence of amino acids. Therefore, the "name of the monomer that makes up proteins" differs from protein to protein. The chain will generally have a greater diversity within each protein than the repeating amino acids. The sequence and composition of amino acid residues are considered the main structure of proteins and play a key role in protein function.

frequent questions

1. What are the elementary functions of the protein monomer in the human body?

Some of the important biological functions of proteins are listed below:

  • They serve as the main structural material for animal tissue.
  • They transport cellular needs such as oxygen, metals, fatty acids,Hormones, etc
  • Some proteins act as enzymes that catalyze all biological reactions.
  • Some globular proteins regulate metabolic processes.
  • Some proteins act as antibodies that defend the body against invasion by foreign organisms.

2. What are essential and non-essential 𝛼 amino acids?

Of the 20 amino acids required for protein synthesis, only 10 cannot be synthesized by the human body. The essential or indispensable amino acids are these ten amino acids.

The ten essential amino acids are valine, methionine, isoleucine, leucine, phenylalanine, tryptophan, threonine, lysine, histidine, and arginine.

3. How is the constitution of a protein related to its function?

The function of a protein is proportional to its structure. For example, when the protein structure is fibrous (such as keratin and collagen), it behaves as a structural or protective protein. If there are any substitutions in the amino acid structure, then the protein will be denatured. It does not fulfill its current function.

4. Proteins can be classified according to theirsolubilityand physical properties?

Proteins can be divided into three categories based on their solubility and physical properties.

(Video) A Level Biology: Monomers and Polymers

Simple proteins:These proteins are converted to amino acids upon hydrolysis. For example, keratin, elastin, albumin, collagen, etc.

Conjugated proteins:These proteins contain two parts, namely amino acids and prosthetic groups. For example, nucleoproteins, hemoproteins, etc.

Derived Proteins:These proteins are formed from native proteins through exposure to heat and chemicals. For example, denatured protein.


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