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013 Lecture 2: Biochemistry I 2/5/16

Textbook: Chapter 2: Sections 2.1 - 2.4, Chapter 3

Major Classes of Biological Macromolecules

• Proteins
• Carbohydrates
• Lipids
• Nucleic Acids
Building Blocks of Biochemical Reactions
• Atom, smallest subunit of matter
• Many atoms are reactive and stabilize by forming bonds with other
atoms—unpaired electrons drive quest for stability
• Chemical bonds
o Hydrogen bonds influence the structure and properties of
macromolecules like proteins and DNA

Section 3.1 What kind of molecules characterize living things?

Macromolecules are polymers constructed by the formation of covalent

bonds between smaller molecules called monomers. Macromolecules in
living organisms include polysaccharides, proteins, and nucleic acids. Large
lipid structures may also be considered macromolecules.
• Functional groups are small groups of atoms that are consistently
found together in a variety of different macromolecules. Functional
groups have particular chemical properties that they confer on any
larger molecule of which they are a part.
• Structural, cis-trans, and optical isomers have the same kinds
and numbers of atoms but differ in their structures and properties.
• The many functions of macromolecules are directly related to their
three-dimensional shapes, which in turn result from the sequences
and chemical properties of their monomers.
• Monomers are joined by condensation reactions, which release a
molecule of water for each bond formed. Hydrolysis reactions use
water to break polymers into monomers.

Section 3.3 What are the chemical structures and functions of

Carbohydrates contain carbon bonded to hydrogen and oxygen atoms and
have the general formula CmH2nOn.
• Monosaccharides are the monomers that make up carbohydrates.
Hexoses such as glucose are six-carbon monosaccharides;
pentoses have five carbons.
• Glycosidic linkages, which have either an α or a β orientation in
space, are covalent bonds between monosaccharides. Two linked
monosaccharides are called disaccharides; larger units are
oligosaccharides and polysaccharides. The two versions of the
glucose ring, called α- and β-glucose, which differ only in the
orientation of the —H and —OH groups attached to carbon. (Fig.
• Starch is a polymer of glucose that stores energy in plants, and
glycogen is an analogous polymer in animals. They can be easily
broken down to release stored energy.

Section 3.4 What are the chemical structures and functions of


Hydrocarbons that are insoluble in water because of their many nonpolar

covalent bonds. They play roles in energy storage, membrane structure,
light harvesting, regulation, and protection.
• Fats and oils are triglycerides. A triglyceride is composed of three
fatty acids covalently bonded to a molecule of glycerol by ester
• A saturated fatty acid has a hydrocarbon chain with no double
bonds. These molecules can pack together tightly. The hydrocarbon
chain of an unsaturated fatty acid has one or more double bonds
that bend the chain, preventing close packing.
• A phospholipid has a hydrophobic hydrocarbon “tail” and a
hydrophilic phosphate “head”; that is, it is amphipathic. In water,
the interactions of the tails and heads of phospholipids generate a
phospholipid bilayer. The heads are directed outward, where they
interact with the surrounding water. The tails are packed together
in the interior of the bilayer, away from water.
• Other lipids include vitamins A, D, E, and K, steroids, waxes and
plant pigments such as carotenoids.
2/8/16 11:55 AM
2/8/16 11:55 AM