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Biochemistry Lecture

Biochemistry Lecture

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Published by: pow2bam2 on Mar 02, 2010
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Biochemistry, study of the substances found in living organisms, and of the chemicalreactions underlying life processes. This science is a branch of both chemistry and biology; the prefix
bio-
comes from
bios,
the Greek word for “life.” The chief goal of  biochemistry is to understand the structure and behavior of biomolecules. These are thecarbon-containing compounds that make up the various parts of the living cell and carryout the chemical reactions that enable it to grow, maintain and reproduce itself, and useand store energy.A vast array of biomolecules is present in the cell. The structure of each biomoleculedetermines in what chemical reactions it is able to participate, and hence what role it plays in the cell's life processes. Among the most important classes of biomolecules arenucleic acids, proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids. Nucleic acids are responsible for storing and transferring genetic information. They areenormous molecules made up of long strands of subunits, called bases, that are arrangedin a precise sequence. These are “read” by other components of the cell and used as aguide in making proteins.Proteins are large molecules built up of small subunits called amino acids. Using only 20different amino acids, a cell constructs thousands of different proteins, each of which hasa highly specialized role in the cell. The proteins of greatest interest to biochemists arethe enzymes, which are the “worker” molecules of the cell. These enzymes serve as promoters, or catalysts, of chemical reactions.Carbohydrates are the basic fuel molecules of the cell. They contain carbon, hydrogen,and oxygen in approximately equal amounts. Green plants and some bacteria use a process known as photosynthesis to make simple carbohydrates (sugars) from carbondioxide, water, and sunlight. Animals, however, obtain their carbohydrates from foods.Once a cell possesses carbohydrates, it may break them down to yield chemical energy ouse them as raw material to produce other biomolecules.Lipids are fatty substances that play a variety of roles in the cell. Some are held in storagefor use as high-energy fuel; others serve as essential components of the cell membrane.Biomolecules of many other types are also found in cells. These compounds performsuch diverse duties as transporting energy from one location in the cell to another,harnessing the energy of sunlight to drive chemical reactions, and serving as helper molecules (cofactors) for enzyme action. All these biomolecules, and the cell itself, are ina state of constant change. In fact, a cell cannot maintain its health unless it is continuallyforming and breaking down proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids; repairing damagednucleic acids; and using and storing energy. These active, energy-linked processes of change are collectively called metabolism. One major aim of biochemistry is tounderstand metabolism well enough to predict and control changes that occur in cells.Biochemical studies have yielded such benefits as treatments for many metabolicdiseases, antibiotics to combat bacteria, and methods to boost industrial and agricultural

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