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Macromolecules: Important Factors of Life

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Taylor Garlington

on 27 August 2013

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Transcript of Macromolecules: Important Factors of Life

Macromolecules: Important Factors of Life
By Taylor Garlington, Period 6 B-Day
AP Biology

What are Macromolecules?
Macromolecules are large molecules that are formed by the joining of smaller molecules, usually by a condensation reaction. Macromolecules are polymers. Polymers are large molecules of many similar units linked together They are essential to life. There are four types of macromolecules:
1. Proteins
2. Lipids
3. Carbohydrates
4. Nucleic acids
Proteins are large, complex molecules that play many critical roles in the body. They do most of the work in cells and are required for the structure, function, and regulation of the body’s tissues and organs. The monomers that make up proteins are called amino acids.

Proteins are made up of hundreds or thousands of smaller units called amino acids, which are attached to one another in long chains. There are 20 different types of amino acids that can be combined to make a protein. The sequence of amino acids determines each protein’s unique 3-dimensional structure and its specific function.

Lipids are a large class of large biological molecules that does not include true polymers. They are generally not big enough to be considered macromolecules. Lipids are all hydrophobic (they don't mix with water). Since lipids are not linked together to form polymeric chains, they are not considered polymers, but are considered monomers. Phospolipids are a type of lipid that contribute to the form and structure of cell membranes.

Some examples of lipids would be vegetable oil and butter. These substances are both high in fat and cholesterol.
Carbohydrates are polymers that include both sugars and polymers of sugars. The simplest form of carbohydrates are mono saccharides, or simple sugars. Carbohydrates serve as fuel and building materials both within and outside of the cells.

A few common examples of carbohydrates include fructose and glucose, which are both simple sugars essential to life. Glucose is the most common mono saccharide.

Carbohydrates can be found in both beans and dairy products, and are important for the body because they are nutrients that provide energy.
Nucleic Acids
Nucleic acids are polymeric macromolecules that are essential for all known forms of life. The two types of nucleic acids are DNA and RNA, which are both found in nuclei of cells. They allow organisms to reproduce their complex components. Nucleic acids store and transmit important hereditary information.

The 2 most common types of nucleic acids are deoxyribonucleic acid and ribonucleic acid. They assist in the storage of hereditary information. The main difference between DNA and RNA is that DNA lacks an oxygen molecule in its second carbon ring.
An example of an important
protein is an enzyme. Enzymes carry out almost all of the thousands of chemical reactions that take place in cells. They also assist with the formation of new molecules by reading the genetic information stored in DNA.

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