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By MEDHA S. RAJADHYAKSHA SUKANYA DATTA

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The insulin receptor is again a protein. One end of the receptor partly sticks out of the cell surface and binds to the insulin molecule. The other end protrudes into the cell. This part of the molecule can act as an enzyme when the receptor is bound to insulin and activates other cellular proteins by phosphorylating them; A cascade of molecular events follow, resulting in increased glucose uptake by the cells and conversion to storage form. Horse Horse Ox insulin Whale and pig Disulphide linkages Fig.

From the primitive cells that carried DNA without the nuclear demarcation to cells with the DNA closeted in the nucleus was an evolutionary leap. The nucleic acids, restricted to the 'nucleus' seem to mastermind the elaborate cell machinery. The cells also seem to carry a lot of apparently useless nucleic acid. This extra nucleic acid with no manifest purpose, seems to hitch-hike its way through life. It might, of course, manage to become useful sometime in millions of years and add a new asset to the cell machinery.

Probably this is how life has changed on our planet. If this is so, the nucleic acids are very smart molecules indeed! Long, delicate molecules containing sugar, phosphates Nucleic acid building blocks 5 carbon sugars Ribose (RS) Deoxyribose (DS) Phosphate g r o u p Fig. 2: Ribose sugars, deoxyribose sugars and phosphate groups make up the backbone of the DNA molecule. MAKING PROTEINS 49 and the bases are nucleic acids. Chemically, the sugar is a little different from the one we eat. It is a pentose, made up of five carbons with four of them forming a ring and the fifth one sticking out.

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