Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Proteins are Cool

I'm largely making this post to procrastinate from the final Goldsoul Mines post.

Also, I threw down some monster names in the Biologic Prehistory post. A future postto elaborate on those.

But first...


Proteins are insanely cool. They're like sub-microscopic Lego chemistry machines, and each of us is caulked full of 'em. A solid chunk of my later education was devoted to learning their structure and function, as proteins end up doing most of the things that are done in your body. Their sheer complexity is both awe-inspiring and terrifying. Perhaps, this can be translated (no pun intended) into some weird-ass monsters.

So, what makes Proteins interesting? They are:

  1. Small - Very small. So small, that were you to shrink down Ant-Man style to the point where you'd be able to see individual proteins, you'd be seeing individual atoms.
  2. Complex and Composite - Proteins are made of these building blocks called Amino Acids. Think of them like Legos with three 'sticky' bits, two of which link into a chain, the third of which is used to stick out of the chain and interact with stuff (like another AA further down the chain, or other proteins, or DNA, etc.) and create complex structure.
  3. Hierarchically Structure-Dependent - There's four levels to Protein structure (labelled Primary through Quaternary). Amino Acids, in a certain sequence, will form a particular shape through 3D interactions between parts of the chain. This shape determines its capabilities and function.
  4. Ruthlessly Efficient - Proteins are highly specific. Insanely specific. Somehow, in the chaotic atom-smashing soup that is quantum-level reality, proteins can nearly always manage to find their exact target ligands. It's like catching butterflies while blind and deaf.
  5. Ludicrously Specific - Not just catching butterflies, but catching that exact butterfly, the one in millions that you needed while they all fluttery about you.
  6. Mechanical - Proteins are micro-machines. They're engines of the smallest scale. Like all machines, their function is determined by their structure.
  7. All About the Folding - Proteins are never static. They're constantly waving their little pieces around like wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube men. Their function is dependent upon how they're folded. If they're misfolded, at best they just don't work (or will be activated by folding later). At worst, we get Prions

A post for protein monsters is up and coming.


  1. New monsters needed: prion-golems, or prion-stalkers (like invisible stalkers); ... they don't strike for normal damage, they fold your proteins backwards so that your brain functions collapse and your health deteriorates.

    Naturally invisible. Heat/fire denatures them (does normal damage); otherwise all damage is negated or half-at-best.

    1. Duuuuuude, Prion Golems are exactly one of the monsters in my next post! I'm glad I'm not the only one that thought of it.

  2. Yes yes yes to protein monsters. Maybe an antiglobin slime that sucks the oxygen out of your blood? Not too bad in short doses but lethal in prolonged engagements. Flammability varies on how saturated it is...

    1. I'm suddenly getting flashbacks to those oxygen-binding curves they showed us in Biochem, with Hemoglobin, Myoglobin, etc.

    2. Hemogoblins! Myogoblins! Nitrogen-fixing Leghemogoblins! (Yeah they'll fix your nitrogen /real/ good.)