Monday, April 25, 2011

Assignment 3

Albumin: The Protein of the Year
So you’re probably wondering what’s so great about this protein, albumin? Although its beauty speaks for itself, I will fill you in on its marvel… 

The Beauty of its Structure

As you can see, albumin somewhat resembles a heart. It contains alpha helices and double disulfide bridges.  The protein is made up of 3 main domains. It has also been shown to be very flexible enabling it to easily change its shape. It contains deep hydrophobic pockets which contain many binding sites for molecules. However, the binding sites for fatty acids are contained on the surface of the protein. 

 Biological BeautyAlbumin is found in blood plasma and is used as a carrier for many molecules including fatty acids, amino acids, bilirubin, and many other solutes. Its main function is to carry these molecules to specific organs throughout the body. Specifically, it carries up to seven fatty acid molecules at a time and releases them when the body’s energy levels are low. It also is involved in maintaining blood pH and osmotic pressure. 

Still not convinced?
Albumin is the most abundant protein in your plasma. Not only is it used to carry organic compounds throughout the body, it is used to carry certain drugs (example: ibuprofen) to the particular target organs, obviously having a significant medical implications. Albumin is unique in that it can carry multiple types of molecules rather than just one specific type (it is rather unbiased).  
Clearly your life would be much more difficult (if at all possible) without albumin running through your blood. So, show your appreciation and cast your vote for this beautiful protein.

Goodsell, David. "Serum Albumin." Protein Data bank. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2011. <>.

Sugio, S. "Crystal Structure of Human Serum Albumin at 2.5 A Resolution." Protein Engineering Design and Selection 12.6 (1999): 439-46. Web. 25 Apr. 2011.