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Nucleic Acids & Proteins

Basic molecular biology covers the various unique characteristics of nucleic acids and proteins. Nucleic acids, most commonly DNA and RNA, are the genetic template for protein production and encode specific amino acids, each has unique hydrophobic, hydrophilic, polar, or nonpolar qualities. The combination of these characteristics determines their interactions with each other, among molecules, in solutions, and within proteins. Proteins resultantly function based on the types of amino acids present. (1)

Proteins, also known as peptides or polypeptides (in chains longer than 3), have four structures: primary, secondary, tertiary, and quaternary. Primary and secondary structures focus on the simple order of amino acids that make up the peptide and the hydrogen bonds that hold overlapping amino acids together to form alpha or beta helices. Tertiary structure is the shape of the peptide generates from the amino acids. Quaternary structure is how various proteins can function together as a unit to complete a task (e.g., hemoglobin, which carries oxygen in the blood). 



Both nucleic acids and protein contribute to immune responses from cells, such as T lymphocyte and macrophages. These cells' enzymes, which are a kind of protein, mount our immune system to prevent infection and invasion of foreign and pathogenic molecules. This response is known as inflammation. Although reasonably common and unlikely to be a significant cause for concern in our daily lives, inflammation is the key to understanding biocompatibility in the medical device industry. Biocompatibility focuses on this relationship between a medical device and a patient immune response. MicroBio Consulting works to understand how a patient’s immune system will respond to a medical device. 

Nucleic acids and proteins are fundamental building blocks of all living organisms. Their detection and understanding are essential in assessing body-contacting devices of all kinds (including nanotechnology). Nucleic acids encode the template for amino acids, which are then assembled into proteins. Proteins often function as enzymes that carry out regulatory processes in human cells, viruses, and bacteria. Current devices used to detect both nucleic acids and proteins are gold nanoparticles (see nanotechnology) and lateral flow devices.(1) 

Nucleic acids and proteins are found in all living organisms and are even present in non-living organisms, such as viruses in the form of RNA.  

Knowledge of nucleic acids and proteins is rooted in the foundational biology of any degree in the hard sciences, including microbiology, biology, and neuroscience. The broad scope of this area means it is almost applicable in all areas of the biological sciences. Further investment into gold nanoparticles and lateral flow device can allow us to understand better what nucleic acids and proteins are present in response to a body-contacting device.(1) Having a team full of experts in the hard sciences, MicroBio Consulting fully understands the basics of biology and its importance in complying with standards set forth by the FDA and International Standards Organization (ISO), which certify almost any product in contact with the human body. Using biocompatibility evaluations, MicroBio Consulting classifies the contact of a medical devices to determine the testing required to ensure patient safety. 

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