Polypeptides

Last Updated: September 26, 2018

Definition - What does Polypeptides mean?

Polypeptides are long chains of chemically linked amino acids. Shorter amino acid chains are referred to as peptides. These compounds are so named because of the type of chemical bond linking the amino acids together, referred to as an amide or peptide bond.

While a peptide may consist of just two amino acids bonded together, a combination of ten or more amino acids is necessary for a compound to be classified as a polypeptide. Additionally, polypeptides usually have a molecular weight greater than 10,000.

While both polypeptides and peptides are proteins, biologists tend to use the term protein only when referring to the polypeptides. Most polypeptides are not only longer but more structurally complex than peptides.

WorkplaceTesting explains Polypeptides

Polypeptide and peptides are the biological units used to create and maintain the cells of the body. When the body digests proteins, they are broken down into amino acids then recombined to create the specific peptides that the body needs.

By combining amino acids into different protein structures, the body can produce the various tissues, fluids, hormones, and structures the body needs to survive.

Polypeptides can be synthetically combined to create antibiotics, hormones and other materials as well. The use of polypeptides and peptides for pharmaceutical applications is a growing field as researchers continue to develop new methods for manipulating these small chemical structures.

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