Molecules of Life

• There are four main classes of organic compounds: carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids.

• Carbohydrates are made up of monomers called monosaccharides. Two monosaccharides join to form a double sugar called a disaccharide. A complex sugar, or polysaccharide, is made of three or more monosaccharides.

• Carbohydrates such as glucose, are a source of energy and are used as structural materials in organisms.

• Proteins have many functions including structural, defensive, and catalytic. Proteins are made up of monomers called amino acids. The sequence of amino acids determines a protein's shape and function. A long chain of amino acids is called a polypeptide, which is made up of amino acids joined by peptide bonds.

• Enzymes speed up chemical reactions and bind to specific substrates. The binding of a substrate with an enzyme causes a change in the enzyme's shape and reduces the

• Lipids are nonpolar molecules that store energy and are an important part of cell membranes. Most lipids contain fatty acids, molecules that have a hydrophilic end and a hydrophobic end.

• There are three kinds of lipids: Triglycerides consist of three fatty acids and one molecule of glycerol. Phospholipids, which make up cell membranes, consist of two fatty acids and one glycerol molecule. A wax is made of one long fatty acid chain joined to one long alcohol.

• The nucleic acid, deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), contains all the genetic information for cell activities. Ribonucleic acid (RNA) molecules play many key roles in building of proteins and can act as enzymes.


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