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Where does the structure of our body come from? This free course, Structural materials in cells, looks at the structure of cells and how proteins are used by both animals and plants to create a framework for cellular growth. You will also learn how a material as fine as spider silk can exceed the strength of steel.
After studying this course, you should be able to:
- describe and give examples of how self-assembly enables construction ‘from the bottom up’ in natural materials
- explain what is meant by primary and higher-order structure in proteins and give examples
- give examples of the range of functions carried out by proteins within cells
- describe how a combination of strong and weak bonding within biopolymers and lipids is used to build hierarchical structures with common structural elements and finely tuned properties, including calculations where appropriate
- explain how both positive and negative design principles must be applied to the design of molecular devices and comment on the challenges involved in attempting such design.
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
Structural materials in cells
This unit examines how self-assembled structures based on lipids and proteins provide a framework for cellular processes.
This OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open University course T356.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Thursday, 17th March 2016
Last updated on: Thursday, 17th March 2016
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements and our FAQs section.
- This site has Copy Reuse Tracking enabled - see our FAQs for more information.
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