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Monomers, polymers, and macromolecules

There are 4 categories of macromolecules: Carbohydrates Proteins, Lipids, and Nucleic acids

Carbon is the central element

All biomolecules contain a Carbon chain or ring
Carbon has 4 outer shell electrons (valence = 4)

Therefore its bonding capacity is great

It forms covalent bonds hence, has strong bonds Once bound to other elements (or to other Carbons), it is very stable

Carbon linkages
Single chains Rings

CH4 =

= C3H8

The 4 types of biomolecules often consist of large carbon chains

Carbon binds to more than just hydrogen!!

To OH groups in sugars To NH2 groups in amino acids To H2PO4 groups of nucleotides of DNA, RNA, and ATP
Amino acid OH, NH2, PO4 are called functional groups!

Fig. 3.1

Functional groups:

Isomers have the same molecular formulas but different structures

Structural isomer = difference in the C skeleton structure Stereoisomer = difference in location of functional groups

Enantiomers are special types of stereoisomers

Enantiomers are mirror images of each other One such enantiomer contains C bound to 4 different molecules and is called a chiral molecule Chiral molecules rotate polarized light to the right (D form) or to the left (L form) molecules Examples: amino acids (L form) sugars (D form)

Monomers and polymers

Monomers are made into polymers via dehydration reactions Polymers are broken down into monomers via hydrolysis reactions

Fig. 3.3

Carbohydrates (or sugars)

Simple sugars (monosaccharides) Only one 3-C, 5-C, 6C chain or ring involved

Fig. 3.5

Examples of sugar monomers*

*Remember how Cs are counted within the ring structures (starting from the right side and counting clockwise)

Carbohydrates (sugars)
Double sugars (disaccharides) Two 6-C chains or rings bonded together

Carbohydrates (sugars)
Complex carbos (polysaccharides)
Starch Cellulose Glycogen Chitin

Glycogen to glucose in animals

Fig. 3.9


Starch structure vs Glycogen structure

Fig. 3.10

Polysaccharides: Cellulose structure

Composed of chains of amino acids 20 amino acids exist Amino acids contain
Central Carbon Amine group Carboxyl group R group

Fig. 3.20

The 20 Amino Acids All differ with respect to their R group

Peptide bonds occur between amino acids

The COOH group of 1 amino acid binds to the NH2 group of another amino acid Forms a peptide bond!

Fig. 3.21

The chain (polymer) of amino acids forms a variety of loops, coils, and folded sheets from an assortment of bonds and attractions between amino acids within the chain(s)

There are at least 7 functions of proteins Enzyme catalysts specific for 1 reaction Defense antibody proteins, other proteins Transport- Hgb, Mgb, transferrins, etc Support keratin, fibrin, collagen Motion actin/myosin, cytoskeletal fibers Regulation- some hormones, regulatory proteins on DNA, cell receptors Storage Ca and Fe attached to storage proteins

Fig. 3.18

There are four levels of protein structure

Primary = sequence of aas Secondary = forms pleated sheet, helix, or coil Tertiary = entire length of aas folded into a shape Quaternary = several aa sequences linked together

Fig. 3.23

Motifs and Domains: Important features of 2 and 4 structure

Nucleic acids: DNA and RNA

DNA = deoxyribonucleic acid DNA is a double polymer (chain) Each chain is made of nucleotides The 2 chains bond together to form a helix

DNA nucleotides
Each nucleotide in DNA contains:
5-C sugar (deoxyribose) Phosphate Nitrogen base -adenine (A) -guanine (G) -cytosine (C) -thymine (T)

Fig. 3.14

One polymer of nucleotides on one backbone of nucleic acid

Fig. 3.15

The DNA double helix

Lipids: Hydrophobic molecules

Central core of glycerol Bound to up to 3 fatty acid chains They exhibit a high number of C-H bonds therefore much energy and non-polar When placed in water, lipids spontaneously cluster together They help organize the interior content of cells phospholipids

Glycerol and fatty acid chains

What specific bonds form between glycerol and each fatty acid chain? Would you think this to be an hydrolysis or a dehydration synthesis rxn?

Saturated and unsaturated fats

The difference resides in the number of Hs attached to Cs in the fatty acid chains; the amount of saturation on the Cs

Saturated vs unsaturated fats and diet

Saturated fats raise LDL-cholesterol levels in the blood (animal fats, dairy, coconut oil, cocoa butter) Polyunsaturated fats leave LDL-cholesterol unchanged; but lower HDL-cholesterol (safflower and corn oil) Monounsaturated fats leave LDL and HDL levels unchanged (olive oil, canola, peanut oil, avocados) One variety of polyunsaturated fat (Omega-3 fatty acids) guards against blood clot formation and reduce fat levels in the blood (certain fish, walnuts, almonds, and tofu)

Phospholipids and cell membranes

P-lipids make up the majority of cell membranes including:
The plasma membrane Nuclear envelope Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) Golgi apparatus Membrane-bound vesicles

Structure of single P-lipid

The 3 Cs of glycerol are bound to:

2 fatty acid chains


Cell environment organizes P-lipid bilayer to proper orientation

Hydrophilic (polar) heads of P-lipid oriented to the exterior; hydrophobic (non-polar) tails oriented to the interior