Paper Protein Activity Part 1: Amino Acid
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Paper Protein Activity Part 1: Amino Acid

November 10, 2019

Part 1
In this video, we’ll show you how to make an origami protein channel model by folding
paper. This is a finished model. It’s made out of eight separate square pieces
of paper and it can have two different shapes, either closed or opened, depending on how
it’s folded. Here it is closed. And here it is opened. Each of the 8 points are the same and were
made from a different piece of paper. These channels, and others, are found on the
surface of cells. They work like special doorways that let only
certain things, like proteins, in out of the cell. Proteins are made of building blocks called
amino acids, and have their own special shape. Not only do they look different, but they
have different jobs to do inside the cell. Some proteins help move things around in the
body, others act like support structures or glue to hold parts of the cell together, and
some can help reactions in the cell go faster. The protein we’re making is a channel that
sits in the outer cell surface, or membrane, and works like a door that lets certain molecules
pass through. Some channels are open all the time while
others can be closed depending on signals from the cell or the environment. To make a protein channel, you’ll first need
to make eight amino acids. You can use just about any kind of paper you
want, as long as all eight pieces are square and the same size. We’ll start by folding a single piece of
paper in half diagonally into a triangle. Then fold it in half diagonally again. Your paper should look like this. Now, open it up and flatten it out. Next, we’ll fold it in half again but this
time horizontally. Next, fold it in half again. This is how your paper should look. Lift the side you just folded and press it
down into a triangle, along the crease you just made. Your paper should look like this. Now we’re going to flip it over and repeat
that step on the other side. Lift up the left side and press it down into
a triangle again. It should end up looking like this. Next, fold the outer edge of the top layer
only to the center line of the triangle. It should look like this. Now that we’ve done the top layer, we’re
going to flip it over and repeat that step on the back. Fold the outer edges into the center crease. And… that’s it! Here is our finished amino acid. Repeat this process with seven more pieces
of paper until you have a total of eight amino acids. Now you’re ready to move on to Part 2. The next video will show you how to assemble
these eight amino acids into a whole protein channel. To learn more, visit

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