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Fold Properly and Escape the Cell

Fold your PROTEIN so that it can ESCAPE THE CELL and perform its function


  • Prepared “amino acid sequence” aka a set of colored beads on a pipe cleaner that correspond to the sequence of a particular protein in the activity (from the Translation Activity or pre-prepared specifically for this activity)
  • (optional) 3D examples of each folded protein (requires a few additional pipe cleaners and beads)

Color Printed Items

  • Golgi Apparatus sign
  • Information sign for each protein being folded
  • Pictures of the folded shape (if not providing your own 3D examples)
  • (optional) Printed stickers or certificates for completion of the Escape the Cell challenge


  • If making 3D models, prepare pipe cleaners with bead sequences that follow each amino acid sequence prepared and fold them generally corresponding to the structures observed for that protein type

To set up the Folding and Secretion Station

  • Attach the sign identifying the Golgi Apparatus
  • Attach signs informing students about the protein sequence they’ve prepared, the structure of the 3D protein they are making, and its functional significance in the cell
  • Create a finish line/cell membrane nearby for students to cross with their final product


  1. Students bring their prepared peptide/protein sequence (aka beads on a pipe cleaner) to the Golgi apparatus for sequence recognition and folding instruction
  2. Students fold their pipe cleaner protein according to the model
  3. Students cross the finish line/cell membrane with their final secreted, folded, accurate protein as mastery of the Escape the Cell challenge

Further discussion can include exploration of protein folding diseases and other protein functions in the cytoplasm, membranes, organelles, etc.

This could also be an opportunity to talk about the difference between mutations to DNA and effects to protein form and function.

If you had one mis-colored or missed bead on your amino acid sequence, could you still properly identify the protein shape you needed to fold? Could this happen in your cells too? What might be the effects?
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