What Are Peptides?

Peptides, by definition, are short chains of amino acids that are linked by amide or peptide bonds. However, their name describes peptides as having a compound made up of two or more amino acids; they can also be classified as oligopeptides and polypeptides. Oligopeptides–named due to its meaning few–consists of less than ten small numbers of amino acids, while polypeptides consist of more than ten amino acids.

What are Amino Acids?

Amino Acids: A small but vital compound containing carboxylic acid and amino groups. It also contains a side chain structure that varies depending on the amino acid. Though we know about hundreds of Amino Acids, there are only 12 that can be genetically combined into peptides, and the rest can be authentically combined. The amino acids that can be combined into peptides are:
1. Arginine
2. Lysine
3. Glutamine
The building blocks of peptides are amino acids. A peptide is formed when amine and carboxylic acid groups in amino acids combine to form the amide bond. Combining two or more amino acids results in a peptide being formed. This can also happen naturally or synthetically. A dipeptide is the shortest peptide, consisting of two amino acids, while a tripeptide is a peptide with three amino acids in length.

What Differentiates Them?

While peptides and proteins have similarities, they also have differences. It is important to understand these differences as well. Peptide and protein can be used interchangeably at times. However, the different characteristics and biological activities between the two stop them from becoming completely substitutable.
It is crucial to comprehend the differences between proteins and peptides, and to do this you must understand amino acids and how amino acids, peptides, and proteins are connected and relate to each other.

What Are Polypeptides And How Do They Relate To Proteins?

Proteins and polypeptides can be told apart due to their size and structure. Polypeptides are typically composed of 50 or more amino acids and are considered to be a protein. It is important to note they can be composed of 40-100 amino acids.

When it comes to structure, that is where the difference between proteins and polypeptides is noticeable. Polypeptides do not have a fixed structure and are shorter than 40-50 amino acids in length additionally, they do not have cooperative interactions to form stable native structures. Proteins, on the other hand, can fold into three-dimensional stable fixed structures. They have this structure for a certain function, such as for the hemoglobin (a protein responsible for transporting oxygen in the blood).

To read the first part of this article, click here.

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