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four types of large molecules

carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and nucleic acids


four main classes of large biological molecules (carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, nucleic acids)


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


The repeating units that serve as the building blocks of polymers.


Specialized macromolecules that speed up chemical reactions

dehydration reaction

A chemical reaction in which two molecules covalently bond to each other with the removal of a water molecule.


Breaking down complex molecules by the chemical addition of water

components of carbohydrates



formula in multiples of CH2O


the most common monosaccharide

functional groups involved in carbohydrates

carbonyl and hydroxyl

glycosidic bond

covalent bond formed between two monosaccharides by a dehydration reaction


a polymer that plants use for storing energy


a polymer of glucose, used for energy storing


major component of cell walls, most abundant organic compound, never branched


complex carbohydrate that makes up the cell walls of fungi; also found in the external skeletons of arthropods


nonpolar molecules that are not soluble or mostly insoluble in water. do not involve polymers!

types of lipids

fats, phospholipids and steroids

compound of fats

glycerol and fatty acids

saturated fatty acid

no double bonds, saturated with hydrogen

unsaturated fatty acid

double bonds, solid at room temperature

major function of fats

energy storage


lipids characterized by a carbon skeleton of four fused sugar rings

roles of proteins

speed up chemical reactions, defense, storage, transport, cellular communication, movement and structural support


polymers of amino acids


a biologically functional molecule that consists of one or more polypeptides, each folded and coiled into a specific 3D shape

amino acid

organic compounds containing an amino group and a carboxylic acid group

primary structure

linked series of amino acids with a unique sequence

secondary structure

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

tertiary structure

Irregular contortions of a protein molecule due to interactions of side chains involved in hydrophobic interactions, ionic bonds, hydrogen bonds, and disulfide bridges.

quarternary structure

overall protein structure, combining 2 or more polypeptides


protein molecules that assist the proper folding of other proteins

nucleic acids

polymers made of monomers called nucleotides

function of DNA

provides instruction for replication

function of RNA

directs protein synthesis

three parts of a nucleotide

nitrogen base, five-carbon sugar, and a phosphate group


C, T and U-when in RNA


A and G

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