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Tutor profile: Melanie C.

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Melanie C.
Graduate Student at the University of Aberdeen
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Questions

Subject: Biochemistry

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Question:

What is the function of the amino acid proline within secondary protein structure?

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Melanie C.
Answer:

Proline contributes to "kinks" in the alpha helices and beta-pleated sheets in secondary protein structure. Because of its cyclic structure, proline causes directional disruptions in these secondary structures.

Subject: Basic Chemistry

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Question:

How do buffers work to maintain pH?

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Melanie C.
Answer:

Buffers work to maintain pH by neutralizing added acid or base to a given solution. A buffer consists of either a weak base and its salt, or weak acid and its salt. If acid is added to the buffered solution, the dissociated H+ ions from the added acid will be accepted and neutralized by the presence of the weak base. This neutralization will prevent a significant pH change from occurring.

Subject: Biology

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Question:

What is the role of telomerase in DNA replication? How does it relate to the aging process?

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Melanie C.
Answer:

Telomerase is the enzyme responsible for maintaining the length of telomeres, or the ends of chromosomes, following DNA replication. Progressively shortened telomeres are thought to be one of the main contributors to aging. Telomerase prevents telomeres from prematurely and rapidly shortening, thereby slowing the aging process.

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