protein

Protein makes up your nails, your hair, and the egg on your plate. This nitrogenous substance we call protein consists of chains of amino acids and is necessary for life functions.

The linguistic origins of protein — from the Greek proteios, meaning “first place” or “primary” — are fitting for a substance that is one of life’s chief components. Although protein is a word often heard in labs and biology classes, it has everyday context too, particularly in the kitchen. Protein-rich foods like eggs, cheese, meats, peanuts or beans are an essential part of good nutrition.

Definitions of protein
1

n any of a large group of nitrogenous organic compounds that are essential constituents of living cells; consist of polymers of amino acids; essential in the diet of animals for growth and for repair of tissues; can be obtained from meat and eggs and milk and legumes

“a diet high in protein
Types:
show 100 types...
hide 100 types...
capsid
the outer covering of protein surrounding the nucleic acid of a virus
gluten
a protein substance that remains when starch is removed from cereal grains; gives cohesiveness to dough
recombinant protein
a protein derived from recombinant DNA
actomyosin
a protein complex in muscle fibers; composed of myosin and actin; shortens when stimulated and causes muscle contractions
aleurone
granular protein in outermost layer of endosperm of many seeds or cereal grains
amyloid
(pathology) a waxy translucent complex protein resembling starch that results from degeneration of tissue
apoenzyme
a protein that combines with a coenzyme to form an active enzyme
compound protein, conjugated protein
a protein complex combining amino acids with other substances
enzyme
any of several complex proteins that are produced by cells and act as catalysts in specific biochemical reactions
fibrin
a white insoluble fibrous protein formed by the action of thrombin on fibrinogen when blood clots; it forms a network that traps red cells and platelets
filaggrin
the main protein of the keratohyalin granules
growth factor
a protein that is involved in cell differentiation and growth
haptoglobin
a protein in plasma that binds free hemoglobin and removes it (as from wounds)
iodinated protein, iodoprotein
a protein that contains iodine
nucleoprotein
any of several substances found in the nuclei of all living cells; consists of a protein bound to a nucleic acid
opsin
retinal protein formed by the action of light on rhodopsin
phosphoprotein
containing chemically bound phosphoric acid
plasma protein
any of the proteins in blood plasma
PSA, prostate specific antigen
a protein manufactured exclusively by the prostate gland; PSA is produced for the ejaculate where it liquifies the semen and allows sperm cells to swim freely; elevated levels of PSA in blood serum are associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer
proteome
the full complement of proteins produced by a particular genome
simple protein
a protein that yields only amino acids when hydrolyzed
cytokine
any of various protein molecules secreted by cells of the immune system that serve to regulate the immune system
ferritin
a protein containing 20% iron that is found in the intestines and liver and spleen; it is one of the chief forms in which iron is stored in the body
antibody
any of a large variety of proteins normally present in the body or produced in response to an antigen which it neutralizes, thus producing an immune response
corn gluten
gluten prepared from corn
wheat gluten
gluten prepared from wheat
ADA, adenosine deaminase
an enzyme found in mammals that can catalyze the deamination of adenosine into inosine and ammonia
actin
one of the proteins into which actomyosin can be split; can exist in either a globular or a fibrous form
albumen, albumin
a simple water-soluble protein found in many animal tissues and liquids
NGF, nerve growth factor
a protein that is involved in the growth of peripheral nerve cells
casein
a milk protein used in making e.g. plastics and adhesives
amylase
any of a group of proteins found in saliva and pancreatic juice and parts of plants; help convert starch to sugar
cholinesterase
an enzyme that hydrolyses acetylcholine (into choline and acetic acid)
coagulase
an enzyme that induces coagulation
collagenase
any enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis of collagen and gelatin
complement
one of a series of enzymes in the blood serum that are part of the immune response
TNF, tumor necrosis factor, tumour necrosis factor
a proinflammatory cytokine that is produced by white blood cells (monocytes and macrophages); has an antineoplastic effect but causes inflammation (as in rheumatoid arthritis)
catalase
enzyme found in most plant and animal cells that functions as an oxidative catalyst; decomposes hydrogen peroxide into oxygen and water
Cox, cyclooxygenase
either of two related enzymes that control the production of prostaglandins and are blocked by aspirin
decarboxylase
any of the enzymes that hydrolize the carboxyl group
de-iodinase
an enzyme that removes the iodine radical
disaccharidase
an enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis of disaccharides into monosaccharides
elastase
a pancreatic enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis of elastin
enterokinase
enzyme in the intestinal juice that converts inactive trypsinogen into active trypsin
glycoprotein
a conjugated protein having a carbohydrate component
haemoprotein, hemoprotein
a conjugated protein linked to a compound of iron and porphyrin
histaminase
enzyme that acts as a catalyst in converting histidine to histamine
Hyazyme, hyaluronidase, spreading factor
an enzyme (trade name Hyazyme) that splits hyaluronic acid and so lowers its viscosity and increases the permeability of connective tissue and the absorption of fluids
thyroprotein
a preparation made from iodinated protein and having an action similar to thyroxine
thyroglobulin
an iodine containing protein that is obtained from the thyroid gland and exhibits the general properties of the globulins
isomerase
an enzyme that catalyzes its substrate to an isomeric form
kinase
an enzyme that catalyzes the conversion of a proenzyme to an active enzyme
lipase
an enzyme secreted in the digestive tract that catalyzes the breakdown of fats into individual fatty acids that can be absorbed into the bloodstream
lipoprotein
a conjugated protein having a lipid component; the principal means for transporting lipids in the blood
lymphokine
a cytokine secreted by helper T cells in response to stimulation by antigens and that acts on other cells of the immune system (as by activating macrophages)
lysozyme, muramidase
an enzyme found in saliva and sweat and tears that destroys the cell walls of certain bacteria
MAO, monoamine oxidase
an enzyme that catalyzes the oxidation of many body compounds (e.g., epinephrine and norepinephrine and serotonin)
nitrogenase
an enzyme of nitrogen-fixing microorganisms that catalyzes the conversion of nitrogen to ammonia
nuclease
general term for enzymes that catalyze the hydrolysis of nucleic acid by cleaving chains of nucleotides into smaller units
oxidase
any of the enzymes that catalyze biological oxidation
oxidoreductase
an enzyme that catalyzes oxidation-reduction
papain
a proteolytic enzyme obtained from the unripe papaya; used as a meat tenderizer
beta-lactamase, penicillinase
enzyme produced by certain bacteria that inactivates penicillin and results in resistance to that antibiotic
pepsin
an enzyme produced in the stomach that splits proteins into peptones
pepsinogen
precursor of pepsin; stored in the stomach walls and converted to pepsin by hydrochloric acid in the stomach
phosphatase
any of a group of enzymes that act as a catalyst in the hydrolysis of organic phosphates
fibrinolysin, plasmin
an enzyme that dissolves the fibrin of blood clots
polymerase
an enzyme that catalyzes the formation of new DNA and RNA from an existing strand of DNA or RNA
peptidase, protease, proteinase, proteolytic enzyme
any enzyme that catalyzes the splitting of proteins into smaller peptide fractions and amino acids by a process known as proteolysis
reductase
an enzyme that catalyses the biochemical reduction of some specified substance
chymosin, rennin
an enzyme that occurs in gastric juice; causes milk to coagulate
secretase
a set of enzymes believed to snip pieces off a longer protein producing fragments of amyloid protein that bunch up and create amyloid protein plaques in brain tissue (the pathological hallmark of Alzheimer's)
globulin
a family of proteins found in blood and milk and muscle and in plant seed
gamma globulin, human gamma globulin
a plasma protein containing the immunoglobulins that are responsible for immune responses
clotting factor, coagulation factor
any of the factors in the blood whose actions are essential for blood coagulation
globin, haematohiston, hematohiston
a colorless protein obtained by removing heme from hemoglobin; the oxygen carrying compound in red blood cells
glutelin
a simple protein found in the seeds of cereals
histone
a simple protein containing mainly basic amino acids; present in cell nuclei in association with nucleic acids
prolamine
a simple protein found in plants
protamine
a simple protein found in fish sperm; rich in arginine; simpler in composition than globulin or albumin; counteracts the anticoagulant effect of heparin
albuminoid, scleroprotein
a simple protein found in horny and cartilaginous tissues and in the lens of the eye
autoantibody
an antibody acting against tissues of the organism that produces it
precipitin
an antibody that causes precipitation when it unites with its antigen
ABO antibodies
blood type antibodies
Rh antibody
rhesus factor antibody
antitoxin
an antibody that can neutralize a specific toxin
agglutinin
an antibody that causes agglutination of a specific antigen
Forssman antibody, heterophil antibody, heterophile antibody
an antibody found in the blood of someone suffering from infectious mononucleosis
alloantibody, isoantibody
an antibody that occurs naturally against foreign tissues from a person of the same species
monoclonal, monoclonal antibody
any of a class of antibodies produced in the laboratory by a single clone of cells or a cell line and consisting of identical antibody molecules
opsonin
an antibody in blood serum that attaches to invading microorganisms and other antigens to make them more susceptible to the action of phagocytes
Ig, immune gamma globulin, immune globulin, immune serum globulin, immunoglobulin
a class of proteins produced in lymph tissue in vertebrates and that function as antibodies in the immune response
streptodornase
an enzyme produced by some hemolytic strains of streptococcus that dissolves fibrinous secretions from infections; used medicinally (often in combination with streptokinase)
streptokinase
an enzyme produced by some strains of streptococcus that can liquefy blood clots by converting plasminogen to plasmin; used medicinally in some cases of myocardial infarction and pulmonary embolism
SOD, superoxide dismutase
an enzyme that catalyzes the conversion of superoxide into hydrogen peroxide and oxygen
telomerase
an enzyme in eukaryotic cells that can add telomeres to the ends of chromosomes after they divide
transferase
any of various enzymes that move a chemical group from one compound to another compound
trypsin
an enzyme of pancreatic origin; catalyzes the hydrolysis of proteins to smaller polypeptide units
urease
an enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis of urea into carbon dioxide and ammonia; is present in intestinal bacteria
zymase
a complex of enzymes that cause glycolysis; originally found in yeast but also present in higher organisms
Type of:
macromolecule, supermolecule
any very large complex molecule; found only in plants and animals

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.