E as Proteínas????

Por: Vivian Benassi

Uma vez que estamos falando de comida, vamos falar um pouco sobre o alimento predileto de muitos brasileiros – a carne! Sabemos que a sua digestão é lenta, e que muitas vezes depois de comermos um bom churrasco só queremos é dormir, mas qual a biomolécula principal constituinte da carne?

Dentre as macromoléculas biológicas, as proteínas caracterizam-se por serem as mais abundantes, sendo encontradas em todas as partes da célula. Por sua vez, as proteínas exercem uma grande variedade de funções, podendo atuar como catalisadores biológicos (enzimas), hormônios (insulina e glucagon), função de proteção (anticorpos), contração muscular (miosina e actina), formação de teias de aranha, chifres, unha, cabelo, dentre outros.

As proteínas são definidas como polímeros de resíduos de aminoácidos unidos por ligações peptídicas. Com isso, para definir essa biomolécula é necessário utilizar de duas outras definições: aminoácidos e ligação peptídica, as quais serão tratadas nesse texto.

- Aminoácidos:

Aminoácidos são formados por carbono α ligados a 4 grupos: (1) amino (NH3+), (2) carboxílico (COO-), (3) hidrogênio e (4) cadeia lateral ou grupamento R – sendo distintos grupos, os quais diferem um aminoácido do outro.

Ao observar a Figura acima, visualiza-se que o aminoácido em solução possui um caráter de íon dipolar, ou Zwitterion, por possuir um grupo com caráter ácido (doador de próton), representado pelo grupo amino, e um grupo com caráter básico (receptor de próton) representado pelo grupo carboxílico.

As proteínas são formadas, em sua maioria, pela combinação de 20 distintos aminoácidos, os quais diferem quanto à cadeia lateral. O grupamento R varia de um aminoácido para outro quanto ao tamanho, polaridade e estrutura. Vale ressaltar que, há outros aminoácidos além dos 20, porém menos comuns nas proteínas.

Os aminoácidos possuem uma característica interessante, caso o carbono α esteja ligado a 4 distintos grupos, o carbono é dito como centro quiral, sendo, portanto, opticamente ativo – desvia a luz plano polarizada. Essa característica é observada para todos os aminoácidos, exceto para a glicina cuja cadeia lateral é um hidrogênio.

- Ligação Peptídica:

Ligações peptídicas são ligações covalentes entre resíduos de aminoácidos, sendo ligações oriundas de reações de condensação com perda de água, entre o grupo carboxílico de um aminoácido e o grupo amino do outro. Nas células, a formação de proteínas ocorre nos ribossomos, mediado pelos códons dos RNA mensageiros e anticódons dos RNA transportadores.

Compreende-se que as proteínas são polímeros de aminoácidos unidos por ligações peptídicas, os quais exercem uma infinidade de funções no organismo vivo.

Então… vamos comer carne sem medo, mas também sem exagero!

Mais informações:

LEHNINGER A.L.; NELSON, D. L. & COX, M. M. Principles of Biochemistry, fifth edition, Worth Publishers, New York. 2008.

This entry was posted in BCT, Ciência & Atualidades - Vivian Benassi, Colunas. Bookmark the permalink.

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