O

CH3 u

CH3 r

Noncovalent interactions

Protein B

Small molecule subunits
Macromolecule

q kr

q kr

▲ FIGURE 2-1 Chemistry of life: key concepts. (a) Covalent and noncovalent interactions lie at the heart of all biomolecules, as when two proteins with complementary shapes and chemical properties come together to form a tightly bound complex. In addition to the covalent bonds that hold the atoms of an amino acid together and link amino acids together, noncovlent interactions help define the structure of each individual protein and serve to help hold the complementary structures together. (b) Small molecules serve as building blocks for larger structures. For example, to generate the information-carrying macromolecule DNA, the four small nucleotide building blocks deoxyadenylate (A), deoxythymidylate (T), deoxyguanylate (G), and deoxycytidylate (C) are covalently linked together into long strings (polymers), which then dimerize into the double helix. (c) Chemical reactions are reversible, and the distribution of the chemicals between starting compounds (left) and the products principles of biochemical energetics, including the central role of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) in capturing and transferring energy in cellular metabolism.

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