Molecules of life biomolecules
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Molecules of life biomolecules

Molecules of Life – Biomolecules

What do these pictures have in common

What Do These Pictures Have in Common?

Brain tissue

Brain Tissue

Protein structure the correct protein structure is important for normal function

Protein Structure – the correct protein structure is important for normal function



Dr. Stanley Prusiner.

Why is carbon so important organic inorganic molecules

Why Is Carbon So Important?Organic/Inorganic Molecules

  • Organic vs. Inorganic in Chemistry

    • Organic refers to molecules containing a carbon skeleton

    • Inorganic refers to carbon dioxide and all molecules without carbon

Carbon s versatility

Carbon’s Versatility

  • Carbon atoms are versatile and can form up to four bonds (single, double, or triple) and rings

  • Functional Groups in organic molecules confer chemical reactivity and other characteristics

    • Determines how that molecule will function (For ex. whether it is polar [charged] or nonpolar [uncharged])

Common elements found in living organisms

Common Elements Found in Living Organisms

  • Carbon (C)

  • Hydrogen (H)

  • Nitrogen (N)

  • Oxygen (O)

  • Phosphorous (P)

Organic molecule synthesis

Organic Molecule Synthesis

  • Biomolecules are polymers (chains) of subunits called monomers

Dehydration synthesis

Dehydration Synthesis

  • Monomers are joined together through dehydration synthesis

    • An H and an OH are removed, resulting in the loss of a water molecule (H2O)



  • Polymers are broken apart through hydrolysis (“water cutting”)

    • Water is broken into H and OH and used to break the bond between monomers

Biological molecules

Biological Molecules

  • All biological molecules fall into one of four categories

    • Carbohydrates

    • Lipids

    • Proteins

    • Nucleic Acids

1 carbohydrates

1. Carbohydrates

  • Carbohydrate composition

    • Made of C, H, and O in the ratio of 1:2:1

  • Construction

    • Simple or single sugars are monosaccharides

    • Two linked monosaccharides are disaccharides

    • Long chains of monosaccharides are polysaccharides



  • Carbohydrates are important energy sources for most organisms



  • Basic monosaccharide structure

    • Backbone of 3-7 carbon atoms

    • Many –OH and –H functional groups

    • Usually found in a ring form in cells

  • Example monosaccharides

    • Glucose (C6H12O6): the most common



  • Fate of monosaccharides inside a cell

    • Some broken down to free their chemical energy

    • Some are linked together by dehydration synthesis for storage



  • Disaccharides are two-part sugars

    • Sucrose (table sugar) = glucose + fructose

    • Lactose (milk sugar) = glucose + galactose

    • Maltose (malt sugar)= glucose + glucose

Polysaccharides used for energy storage

Polysaccharides Used For Energy Storage

  • Monosaccharides are linked together to form chains (polysaccharides)

  • Storage polysaccharides

    • Starch (polymer of glucose)

      • Formed in roots and seeds as a form of glucose storage

    • Glycogen (polymer of glucose)

      • Found in liver and muscles

Polysaccharides used for structural support

Polysaccharides Used For Structural Support

  • Structural polysaccharides

    • Cellulose (polymer of glucose)

    • Found in the cell walls of plants

      • Indigestible for most animals due to orientation of bonds between glucoses

Polysaccharides used for structural support1

Polysaccharides Used For Structural Support

  • Structural polysaccharides continued

    • Chitin (polymer of modified glucose units)

      • Found in the outer coverings of insects, crabs, and spiders

      • Found in the cell walls of many fungi

2 lipids

2. Lipids

  • All lipids contain large chains of nonpolarhydrocarbons (a chain of carbon atoms w/hydrogen atoms attached)

  • Most lipids are hydrophobic (don’t like water) and water insoluble (don’t dissolve in water)

  • Lipids are diverse in structure and serve in a variety of functions

    • Energy storage

    • Waterproofing

    • Membranes in cells

    • Hormones

3 groups of lipids

3 Groups of Lipids

  • 1. Oils, fats, and waxes

  • 2. Phospholipids

  • 3. Steroids

Oils fats and waxes

Oils, Fats, and Waxes

  • Made of only C, H, and O

  • Made of one or more fatty acid subunits

    • Long chains of C and H with a carboxylic acid group (-COOH) at one end

  • Fats and oils

    • Formed by dehydration synthesis

Oils and fats

Oils and Fats

  • Fats and oils used for long-term energy storage

    • Fats and oils possess a high density of stored chemical energy

Oils and fats1

Oils and Fats

  • Fat solidity is due to single or double carbon bonds

    • Fats that are solid at room temperature are saturated (carbon chain has as many hydrogen atoms as possible, and mostly or all C-C single bonds), e.g. beef fat

Oils and fats2

Oils and Fats

  • Fat solidity is due to single or double carbon bonds (continued)

    • Fats that are liquid at room temperature are unsaturated(fewer hydrogen atoms, many C=C double bonds), e.g. corn oil



  • Composed of long hydrocarbon chains and are strongly hydrophobic

  • Highly saturated and solid at room temperature

  • Form waterproof coatings

  • Used to build honeycomb structures



  • Form plasma membranes around all cells

  • Phospholipids have hydrophobic and hydrophilic portions

    • Polar functional groups are water soluble

    • Nonpolar fatty acid “tails” are water insoluble



  • Steroids are composed of four carbon rings fused together

  • Examples of steroids

    • Cholesterol

      • Found in membranes of animal cells

    • Male and female sex hormones

3 proteins

3. Proteins

  • Proteins have a variety of functions

    • Enzymes catalyze (speed up) reactions

    • Structural proteins (e.g. collagen) provide support

Amino acids

Amino Acids

  • Proteins are formed from chains of amino acids (monomers)

    • There are 20 amino acids that make up proteins of living things.

Amino acids1

Amino Acids

  • All amino acids have similar structure

    • Central carbon atom bonded to four different functional groups

      • 1. An amino group (-NH2)

      • 2. A carboxylic acid group (-COOH)

      • 3. A hydrogen (H)

      • 4. All have a variable “R” group

        • Some R groups are hydrophobic

        • Some are hydrophilic

        • Cysteine R groups can form disulfide bridges

Amino acids2

Amino Acids

  • The sequence of amino acids in a protein dictates its function

Dehydration synthesis1

Dehydration Synthesis

  • Amino acids are joined to form chains by dehydration synthesis

    • An amino group reacts with a carboxyl group, and water is lost

Dehydration synthesis2

Dehydration Synthesis

  • Resultant covalent bond is a peptide bond

  • A chain of two amino acids or a short amino acid chain is called a peptide

  • Long chains of amino acids are known as polypeptides or just proteins

Three dimensional structures

Three Dimensional Structures

  • The type, position, and number of amino acids determine the structure and function of a protein

    • Precise positioning of amino acid R groups leads to bonds that determine structure

    • Disruption of these bonds leads to denatured proteins and loss of function

      • For ex. If you expose a protein to high temperatures, it will cause the protein to unfold, in other words, to denature.

4 nucleic acids

4.Nucleic Acids

  • Nucleotides are the monomers of nucleic acid chains

  • All nucleotides are made of three parts

    • Phosphate group

    • Five-carbon sugar

    • Nitrogen-containing base

Molecules of heredity

Molecules of Heredity

  • Two types of nucleotides

    • Ribonucleotides (A, G, C, and U) found in RNA

      • A = adenine

      • G = guanine

      • C = cytosine

      • U = uracil

    • Deoxyribonucleotides (A, G, C, and T) found in DNA

      • A = adenine

      • G = guanine

      • C = cytosine

      • T = thymine

Molecules of heredity1

Molecules of Heredity

  • Two types of polymers (chains) of nucleic acids

    • DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) found in chromosomes

      • Carries genetic information needed for protein construction

    • RNA (ribonucleic acid)

      • Copies of DNA used directly in protein construction

Molecules of life biomolecules

One nucleotide

Molecules of heredity2

Molecules of Heredity

  • Each DNA molecule consists of two chains of nucleotides that form a double helix

  • The nucleotides on opposing strands form hydrogen bonds, linking the two strands

  • RNA is copied from DNA in the nucleus

    • That information is used to synthesize proteins in the cell’s cytoplasm

The end

The End

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