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Studying Proteins Involved in Cell Division

Globular Protein

Introduction to the site

This website is meant to help teachers and students explore more specifically the roles of proteins and how knowledge of proteins can be applied more generally to scientific research endeavors. To provide a more tangible application of proteins and the cell cycle, this website will look at how proteins are involved in causing cancer, and how knowledge of certain proteins can help scientists to develop possible cancer treatments.

Teachers: Please note that this is NOT a cell cycle lesson plan. Rather, it is meant as a supplement to a lesson on the cell cycle and an opportunity to further explore modern protein research.

Site Visitors!

Be sure, before exploring the website, that you understand the proteins that the website will be referring to.

The proteins that will be discussed in this site do not refer to the meat you had for dinner last night or any other food!

Not These Guys!

Chicken: Not This Protein Cow: Not This Protein Pig:Not This Protein

We're actually talking about molecular proteins that are within the cells in all humans! There are many different types of proteins, each with their own role in the cell. The specific proteins we'll be looking at help to control and carry out cell division. These proteins are made of many different units, called amino acids. The order of these amino acids and the way the chain folds affects the function of the protein in the cell.

Amino Acid Chain Folding Into Protein
Amino Acid Chain Folded into Protein


Proteins within the cell are not visible with the naked eye. Although molecular proteins may be hard to visualize at first, rest assured that by the time you have explored the website, you will understand both the scale and importance of proteins in the everyday workings of a cell!

In short, the proteins we're talking about are microscopic!

To better understand the size and scale of a protein, feel free to explore the cell scale below. Be sure to scale the image down to the level in the picture below. You should see hemoglobin, an antibody, and tRNA. Hemoglobin is an example of a protein. If you scale down further, you will see methionine, which is an amino acid. Remember, amino acids form a chain to make a protein.

Click the image below to go to the University of Utah's website and explore their Cell Scale!

Screen Shot of Cell Scale

Cancer is controlled by the abnormal actions of microscopic proteins. We study the proteins involved in cancer on the molecular level in order to understand more about the disease and develop cancer treatments. The following pages explore the prevalence of cancer and how cancer occurs.

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