|The Chemistry of Life: Organic Molecules
What Is Organic Chemistry?
- Life is based on carbon;
organic chemistry studies compounds in which carbon is a central element.
- The properties of carbon make it the backbone of the organic molecules which form living matter.
- Carbon is a such a versatile element because it
can form four covalent bonds.
skeletons can vary in length, branching, and
- The functional
groups of organic molecules are the parts involved
in chemical reactions.
- Organic molecules important for life include relatively
small monomers as well as large polymers.
Which Organic Molecules Are Important for Life?
- Carbohydrates are
a class of important organic molecules that provide energy and structure.
- Lipids are
a large class of hydrophobic organic molecules.
- Proteins are
crucial to life and perform a wide range
acids are the building blocks of polypeptide
chains which fold to
- Shape is critical for protein function and creates specific regions called domains; a protein
that is denatured loses its domains and the ability to function.
- Protein denaturation causes proteins to unfold and clump in a random configuration; understanding the denaturation process helps in understanding the structure of intact proteins.
- Proteins can combine with other macromolecules to form
lipoproteins and glycoproteins.
- Nucleic acids are the primary information-bearing molecules
the building blocks of nucleic acids, are also important
as energy carriers.
- The nucleic acid DNA is
composed of two chains of nucleotides in a helical
structure; RNA is a similar nucleic acid of equal