Proteins and Amino Acids

Proteins and amino acids are organic molecules that the body needs. These substances are needed in order for us to live and to have a healthy life.

Amino Acids

Amino acids are molecules that are used by organisms to make protein. Carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen make up an amino acid and there are twenty different kinds that combine to the proteins that are needed for our bodies.

Our body gets some amino acids from food, but our body also helps to produce amino acids.


Proteins are long chains of amino acids. The proteins are important for our bodies because they help us to survive and there are thousands of them found throughout our body.

More than 20% of our body is made up of proteins and our bodies cells uses proteins to do different things.

How are Proteins Made?

Proteins are made inside of the cells of our body and when the cell makes a protein it is called protein synthesis.

The DNA decides how the protein is going to be made and when this happens, there are two stages that occur and that is transcription and translation.


Transcription happens when the cell copies the DNA. When the DNA is copied it becomes RNA because it uses a different type of nucleic acid. The nucleic acid is called ribonucleic acid and the RNA is used for translation.


The RNA is then changed to amino acids that make up the protein. The RNA moves to the ribosome and is called a messenger RNA and is then given the name mRNA.

The mRNA then attaches to the ribosome and the body uses the mRNA to start a different sequence and this helps to build the string of amino acids.

Eventually the ribosome will stop and this will be a complete protein and the protein will help to do some function in the body.

Types of Proteins

There are thousands of different types of proteins and some of them include structural, transport, catalysts, defensive proteins.

Structural protein gives our bodies structure.

Transport proteins help our body to carry nutrients where they are needed.

Catalyst proteins are used to help our bodies break down food in the digestive system.

Defensive proteins help to fight diseases and help to protect the antibodies.

Facts About Proteins and Amino Acids:

  • Our bodies can get amino acids from foods such as eggs and bread.
  • Some RNA is called tRNA because it is transfer RNA.
  • When amino acids are linked with protein it is called peptide bonds.
  • The different strands of amino acids decide what the protein is going to do.
  • Our hair is made up of protein that is called keratin.

What Did You Learn?

  • What are amino acids? Amino acids are molecules that make up proteins.
  • How many amino acids are in the body? Our body is made up of thousands of amino acids.
  • What are four of the type of proteins that we talked about? We discussed structural, transport, catalysts and defensive proteins.
  • Do proteins help different parts of the body? Yes. Proteins that are transport proteins, for example, help to transport nutrients throughout the whole body.
  • What are the two stages that occur in making proteins? The translation and transcription stages happen in the making of proteins.