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Class of biologically import molecule formed by the joining of smaller molecules, usually by a condensation reaction and is very large. Polysaccharides, proteins, and nucleic acids are macromolecules. Also are polymers.


long molecule consisting of many similar or identical building blocks linked by covalent bonds


the repeating units that serve as the building blocks of a polymer

condensation reaction

a chemical reaction in which two or more molecules combine to produce water or another simple molecule

Dehydration reaction

a condensation reaction referring to the molecules that form a covalent bond through the loss of a water molecule


specialized macromolecules that speed up chemical reactions in cells


a process in which polymers are disassembled through the addition a a water molecule, which separates into H+ and OH- to separate the polymer


Organic compounds made of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms in the proportion of 1:2:1. Usually sugars and polymers of sugars


a single carbohydrate molecule


consists of two monosaccharides joined by a glycosidic linkage

glycosidic linkage

a covalent bond formed between two monosaccharides by a dehydration reaction


polymers with a few hunderd to a few thoughsand monosaccharides joined by glycosidic linkages


a polysaccharide of glucose monosaccharides. Used to store energy because glucose is a major cellular fuel. Glucose can be separated by means of hydrolysis. Has a helical structure


polymer of glucose that is like amylopectin(a type of starch) but more extensively branched. Does not provide as much energy as starches


major component of the tough walls that enclose plant cells. Made up of glucose. Forms microfibrils that act like cables. Difference from starch is that the glycosidic linkages are consistantly flipped/alternated. This makes it straight instead of helical


A fiber that is made up of cellulose. Weaved together to give cell walls their strength in plants


class of large biological molecule that is not a true polymer and not generally large enough to be a macromolecules. They are nonpolar.


constructed of two smaller molecules: glycerol and fatty acids. Combines via an ester linkage


an alcohol that acts as the organizing part of a fat. Has three carbons, each bearing a hydroxyl group

fatty acid

a long carbon skeleton with a carboxyl group at the end

ester linkage

a bond between a hydroxyl group and a carboxyl group.


three fatty acids linked to one glycerol molecule.


synonymous with triacylglycerol

saturated fatty acid

A fatty acid, such as stearic acid, whose carbon chain contains no unsaturated linkages between carbon atoms and hence cannot incorporate any more hydrogen atoms. Observed as multiple straight fatty acid segments

unsaturated fatty acid

A fatty acid, such as oleic acid, whose carbon chain possesses one or more double or triple cis bonds and hence can incorporate additional hydrogen atoms. Observed as having bent fatty acid segments.


two fats and a phosphate group attached to glycerol; fat tail = hydrophobic. phosphate group + 2(CH2) + N(CH3)3 = hydrophilic; examples: membranes, soaps; when added to water, self-assemble into micelles, liposomes, bilayers; major component of all cell membranes


lipids characterized by a carbon skeleton consisting of four fused rings


a common component of animal cell membranes and is also the precursor from which other steroids are synthesized., helps stabilize the membrane at warm temperatures but also helps keep the membrane fluid at lower temperatures. In a cell, the phospholipid bilayer remains about as fluid as salad oil. Is the precursor for other steroids in the body. Made in the liver.

trans fat

unsaturated fat with a trans double bond, causing the fatty acid to be straight instead of bent.

Adipose cell

fat-containing vacuole that swells and shrinks as fat is deposited and withdrawn from storage. Also cushions vital organs and insulates as a fat layer beneath the skin


The tools and building blocks of cells. Made up of one or more polypeptides, each folded and coiled into a specific 3D structure


protein that is an biological catalyst


chemical agent that selectively speeds up chemical reactions without being consumed by the reaction


polymers of amino acids

Amino acids

organic molecules possessing both carboxyl and amino groups. The center carbon atom is the alpha carbon, and it bonds to an amino group, a carboxyl group, a hydrogen atom, and an R side group that decides what the protein is.

Peptide bond

the covalent bond formed from the dehydration reaction between the carboxyl group and the amino group of two different amino acids.

Primary Structure

The order of amino acids in a protein

Secondary Structure

The localized, repetitive coiling or folding of the polypeptide backbone of a protein due to hydrogen bond formation between constituents of the backbone.

Tertiary Structure

overall shape of a polypeptide resulting from interactions between the side chains(R groups) of the various amino acids.

alpha helix

a delicate coil held together by hydrogen bonding between every fourth amino acid

Beta pleated sheet

two or more regions of the polypeptide chain lying side by side are connected by hydrogen bonds between parts of the two parallel polypeptide backbones.

hydrophobic interaction

when the side groups of an amino acid are nonpolar, they have a tendency to move towards the core of the protein, away from water, while the more polar side groups move towards the water

disulfide bridges

when two amino acids with sulfhydryl groups are brought close together by the folding of the protein.

Quaternary Structure

The overall protein structure that results from the aggregation of the polypeptide subunits


the unraveling of a protein due to alteration of pH, salinity, temperature, or other aspects of the nevironment


a protein molecule that assists in the proper folding of other proteins

X-ray crystallography

technique used to determine 3D protein strucures by analyzing the diffraction pattern of a beam of xrays passed through a crystal of the protein


(genetics) a segment of DNA that is involved in producing a polypeptide chain

nucleic acids

Polymers assembled from individual nucleotides; used to store and transmit hereditary, or genetic, information; the two kinds of nucleic acids are ribonucleic acid (RNA) and deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)

deoxyribonucleic acid

DNA. the genetic information of an organism(biochemistry) a long linear polymer found in the nucleus of a cell and formed from nucleotides and shaped like a double helix

ribonucleic acid

RNA (biochemistry) a long linear polymer of nucleotides found in the nucleus but mainly in the cytoplasm of a cell where it is associated with microsomes


A polymer consisting of many nucleotide monomers; serves as a blueprint for proteins and, through the actions of proteins, for all cellular activities. The two types are DNA and RNA


monomer of polynucleotides. Either cytosine, thymine, uracil, adenine, or guanine. In a nucleic-acid chain, a subunit that consists of a five-carbon sugar, a phosphate, and a nitrogenous base


has a six-membered ring of carbon and nitrogen atoms(the nitrogen atoms tend to take up H+ from the solution, which is why they are call a nitrogenous bases). Can be cytosine(C), thymine(T), or uracil(U)


larger than pyrimidines, they have a six-membered ring fused to a five-membered ring.


C(HOCH2)HCOC(OH)(H)CH2CH(OH), five-carbon monosaccharide that is a component of DNA nucleotides. Has one less Oxygen than ribose, hence the name


C(HOCH2)HCOCH(OH)CH(OH)CH(OH), a five-carbon monosaccharide that is a component of RNA nucleotides

double helix

two parallel polynucleotides that spiral around an imaginary axis


the fact that opposing DNA strands run in opposite directions

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