Sei sulla pagina 1di 2

Biologically important molecules such as: carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids, provide essential functions within

organisms cells and bodies. These macromolecules each serve their own purpose; their structure plays a major role in determining their specific function. Lipids are a class of organic compounds such as: fats, oils, waxes, and steroids. These compounds are all hydrophobic which prevents them from dissolving in water. Lipids have hydrocarbon tails which are nonpolar because of their electronegativity. The structure and element-makeup of these tails horde it with energy. This gives lipids the function of storing itself to provide long-term energy for organisms. In addition, phospholipids, a lipid where a phosphate group replaces one fatty acid, are a vital component of the Eukaryotic cells plasma membrane. This membrane is made up of lipid bilayers that prevent molecules from passively entering and exiting the cell, excluding certain other hydrophobic molecules such as steroids. Also, the structure of steroids consists of four fused rings. Its structure also allows it to pass through its target cells membrane to elicit a specific response from that cell. Proteins are also organic molecules that have complex structures helping them carry out many functions in the body. These functions are: growth and repair, cell communication, defense from pathogens, and catalyzing chemical reactions (enzymes). The building blocks of proteins are amino acids; they require a carboxyl group, an amine group, and a variable (R) group. Then, the amino acids join together using a peptide bond. After, the amino acids continue to bond and fold creating a complex 3-D protein molecule. The way the amino acids order themselves, fold, and bond, determines the specificity of the protein. For example, the disease, sickle cell anemia, is caused by a change of one amino acid. This small change will cause red blood cells to be improperly shaped; the side effects of this disease are very painful. Carbohydrates are another organic molecule made up of oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen. The hydrogen to oxygen ratio will always be 2:1. The simplest form of a carbohydrate, a monosaccharide, has the chemical formula . Two monosaccharides joined together form a disaccharide, with one water molecule released by the dehydration reaction. These have the chemical formula . Oligosaccharides and polysaccharides are made up of many monosaccharides. The structure and complexity of these compounds allow all the different forms of carbohydrates to take on different functions. For example, cellulose is a polysaccharide; its complexity makes it strong enough to be the building material that makes up plant cell walls. A monosaccharide, or simple sugar, such as glucose, can readily be used by plants for energy. Lastly, nucleic acids are organic compounds composed of the monomer, nucleotides. There are two types of nucleic acids, DNA and RNA. Their nucleotides are composed of three parts that enable organisms to pass along genetic information: a nitrogenous base, a pentose (five-carbon sugar), and a phosphate group. The

nitrogenous bases can be in the families: pyrimidine or purine. The pentose connected to the nitrogenous base could be ribose (used in RNA), or deoxyribose (used in DNA). The pentose and phosphate group bond through an ester linkage. Adjacent nucleotides will bond by the covalent bond, phosphodiester. The nucleic acid, DNA has a very specific structure that allows for the DNA to be tightly packed into chromosomes. Also, it has an extremely stable backbone. The phosphate groups on the backbone are negatively charged; this charge helps in the attachment of other molecules to the strand of DNA. In addition, DNA is a double helix with each side being anti-parallel. Each strand codes for the other strand; if one strand is messed up in replication, then there is still another ideal copy on the other side. The DNA sequencing possibilities are infinite making order and structure important for nucleic acids to function.