It’s amazing that two hydrogens and an oxygen atom is the basis of life. We are made of 60% of this simple compound, water, and is necessary for repairing cells, tissue, and keeping our organs functioning properly.
According to research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, water is why amino acids fold into their proper shapes. Amino acids are considered the building blocks of life and compose proteins. To delve further into the structure and function of amino acids, click here. Dongping Zhong was the leader of the research group and made the breakthrough discovery of water-protein interaction. He used laser pulses to take snapshots of water molecules moving around a DNA polymerase- the enzyme that helps DNA reproduce. Zhong observed that the water directly interacted with the R groups, the part of the amino acid that attach and detach with other amino acids to fold and direct the protein’s function.
It is important to note, however, that water is not the only factor in determining protein shape. Proteins can only fold and unfold in a few different ways, which depend on the amino acids they are comprised of. Nonetheless, water and amino acids themselves are the two reasons for DNA replication and the dozens of other activities that proteins take part in. Zhong’s discovery is just an homage to the larger role of water in everyday life: by just adding water, life runs smoothly.
If this information doesn’t convince you to drink more water, read about the molecular changes our body experiences with lack of water, or when we are dehydrated.