Ian A. York iayork at panix.com
Sun Apr 1 10:39:42 EST 2001

In article <tcehktaebijcd7 at corp.supernews.co.uk>,
Poster Ex \(CH\) <chris2048 at hotmail.com> wrote:
>This is a crosspost...

(I've set followups out of bionet.molbio.proteins, but since this
newsreader won't let me send it to alt.anime.tenchi-muyo alone [an invalid
newsgroup on this server] I've also set them to misc.test as a carrier;  
remember to remove that before replying.)

>my friend concludes that the acid actually breaks down the protein,
>I, however, claim that the primary role of this acid is a defence mechanism
>against, er, antigens?

>Who would be the victor is such an argument? :>

Neither of you.  Or, if you prefer, both.  While it's true that acid
contributes to the breakdown of proteins and to the defense against
microorganisms, pepsin also contributes to the initial proteolysis; it
breaks proteins down into smaller polypeptides and some amino acids,
though for the most part its action isn't sufficient to completely digest
proteins.  The same goes for acid, but probably more so.  (It's hard to
say what a "primary" role of something biological is: since it wasn't
designed, it can't have been designed for something, if you see what I

I don't know of any condition in which pepsin alone is not produced (there 
probably is one, but I don't know of it), so I can't say how important 
pepsin alone is.


    Ian York   (iayork at panix.com)  <http://www.panix.com/~iayork/>
    "-but as he was a York, I am rather inclined to suppose him a
     very respectable Man." -Jane Austen, The History of England

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