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Working With Proteins

Many of the molecules in cells are proteins. These are the molecules that actually do the chemical work inside a cell and make it useful. Even a simple cell such as a bacterium contains about 2,000 different proteins, each one with a unique job. Many of these proteins are enzymes.

The Amazing Power of Proteins and Enzymes

When we use cells in a particular way—for example, to clean up an oil spill—we are actually using the enzymes made by the cells. When we grow cells to make a useful product, the product is often a protein molecule.

How Are Proteins Used in Industry?

Protein products range from the enzymes added to laundry detergents, to insulin for diabetics, to vaccines used to prevent disease. Chemists, biochemists, and molecular biologists study the intricate structure of protein molecules and continually develop new ways to use these molecules.