Molecular biology // is the branch of biology that deals with the molecular basis of biological activity. This field overlaps with other areas of biology and chemistry, particularly genetics and biochemistry. Molecular biology chiefly concerns itself with understanding the interactions between the various systems of a cell, including the interactions between the different types of DNA, RNA and protein biosynthesis as well as learning how these interactions are regulated.
Writing in Nature in 1961, William Astbury described molecular biology as:
Protein biosynthesis is when biological cells generate new proteins; it is balanced by the loss of cellular proteins via degradation or export. Translation, the assembly of proteins by ribosomes, is an essential part of the biosynthetic pathway, along with generation of messenger RNA (mRNA), aminoacylation of transfer RNA (tRNA), co-translational transport, and post-translational modification. Protein biosynthesis is strictly regulated at multiple steps, and error-checking mechanisms are in place.
The cistron DNA is transcribed into a variety of RNA intermediates. The last version is used as a template in synthesis of a polypeptide chain. Protein will often be synthesized directly from genes by translating mRNA. When a protein must be available on short notice or in large quantities, a protein precursor is produced. A proprotein is an inactive protein containing one or more inhibitory peptides that can be activated when the inhibitory sequence is removed by proteolysis during posttranslational modification. A preprotein is a form that contains a signal sequence (an N-terminal signal peptide) that specifies its insertion into or through membranes, i.e., targets them for secretion. The signal peptide is cleaved off in the endoplasmic reticulum. Preproproteins have both sequences (inhibitory and signal) still present.
Amino acids (//, //, or //) are biologically important organic compounds composed of amine (-NH2) and carboxylic acid (-COOH) functional groups, along with a side-chain specific to each amino acid. The key elements of an amino acid are carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen, though other elements are found in the side-chains of certain amino acids. About 500 amino acids are known and can be classified in many ways. Structurally they can be classified according to the functional groups' locations as alpha- (α-), beta- (β-), gamma- (γ-) or delta- (δ-) amino acids; other categories relate to polarity, pH level, and side chain group type (aliphatic, acyclic, aromatic, containing hydroxyl or sulfur, etc.) In the form of proteins, amino acids comprise the second largest component (after water) of human muscles, cells and other tissues. Outside proteins, amino acids perform critical roles in processes such as neurotransmitter transport and biosynthesis.
Amino acids having both the amine and carboxylic acid groups attached to the first (alpha-) carbon atom have particular importance in biochemistry. They are known as 2-, alpha-, or α-amino acids (generic formula H2NCHRCOOH in most cases where R is an organic substituent known as a "side-chain"); often the term "amino acid" is used to refer specifically to these. They include the 22 proteinogenic ("protein-building") amino acids which combine into peptide chains ("polypeptides") to form the building blocks of a vast array of proteins. These are all L-stereoisomers ("left-handed" isomers) although a few D-amino acids ("right-handed") occur in bacterial envelopes and some antibiotics. Twenty of the proteinogenic amino acids are encoded directly by triplet codons in the genetic code and are known as "standard" amino acids. The other two ("non-standard" or "non-canonical") are pyrrolysine (found in methanogenic organisms and other eukaryotes) and selenocysteine (present in many noneukaryotes as well as most eukaryotes). For example, 25 human proteins include selenocysteine (Sec) in their primary structure, and the structurally characterized enzymes (selenoenzymes) employ Sec as the catalytic moiety in their active sites. Pyrrolysine and selenocysteine are encoded via variant codons; for example, selenocysteine is encoded by stop codon and SECIS element. Codon–tRNA combinations not found in nature can also be used to "expand" the genetic code and create novel proteins known as alloproteins incorporating non-proteinogenic amino acids.
The nitrogen cycle is the process by which nitrogen is converted between its various chemical forms. This transformation can be carried out through both biological and physical processes. Important processes in the nitrogen cycle include fixation, ammonification, nitrification, and denitrification. The majority of Earth's atmosphere (78%) is nitrogen, making it the largest pool of nitrogen. However, atmospheric nitrogen has limited availability for biological use, leading to a scarcity of usable nitrogen in many types of ecosystems. The nitrogen cycle is of particular interest to ecologists because nitrogen availability can affect the rate of key ecosystem processes, including primary production and decomposition. Human activities such as fossil fuel combustion, use of artificial nitrogen fertilizers, and release of nitrogen in wastewater have dramatically altered the global nitrogen cycle]citation needed[.
A 2011 study found that nitrogen from rocks may also be a significant source of nitrogen, that had not previously been included in most calculations and statistics.
The Nirenberg and Matthaei experiment was a scientific experiment performed on May 15, 1961, by Marshall W. Nirenberg and his post doctoral fellow, Heinrich J. Matthaei. The experiment cracked the genetic code by using nucleic acid homopolymers to translate specific amino acids.
In the experiment, an extract from bacterial cells that could make protein even when no intact living cells were present was prepared. Adding an artificial form of RNA, poly-U, to this extract caused it to make a protein composed entirely of the amino acid phenylalanine. This experiment cracked the first codon of the genetic code showed that RNA controlled the production of specific types of protein.
The adaptor hypothesis is part of a scheme to explain how information encoded in DNA is used to specify the amino acid sequence of proteins. It was formulated by Francis Crick in the mid-1950s, together with the central dogma of molecular biology and the sequence hypothesis. It first appeared in an informal publication of the RNA Tie Club in 1955 and was formally published in an article “On Protein Synthesis” in 1958.
The adaptor hypothesis was framed to explain how information could be extracted from a nucleic acid and used to put together a string of amino acids in a specific sequence, that sequence being determined by the nucleotide sequence of the nucleic acid (DNA or RNA) template. He proposed that each amino acid is first attached to its own specific “adaptor” piece of nucleic acid (in an enzyme catalysed reaction). The order of assembly of the amino acids is then determined by a specific recognition between the adaptor and the nucleic acid which is serving as the informational template. In this way the amino acids could be lined up by the template in a specific order. Coupling between adjacent amino acids would then lead to the synthesis of a polypeptide whose sequence is determined by the template nucleic acid.
Science of drugs including their origin, composition, pharmacokinetics,
pharmacodynamics, therapeutic use, and toxicology.
Pharmacology (from Greek φάρμακον, pharmakon, "poison" in classic Greek; "drug" in modern Greek; and -λογία, -logia "study of", "knowledge of") is the branch of medicine and biology concerned with the study of drug action, where a drug can be broadly defined as any man-made, natural, or endogenous (within the body) molecule which exerts a biochemical and/or physiological effect on the cell, tissue, organ, or organism. More specifically, it is the study of the interactions that occur between a living organism and chemicals that affect normal or abnormal biochemical function. If substances have medicinal properties, they are considered pharmaceuticals.