Macromolecules In Biology: Definition And Types

Macromolecules In Biology: Definition And Types
  • Macromolecules Are Formed When Monomers Are Linked Together To Form Longer Chains Called Polymers.
  • The Same Process Of Making And Breaking Polymers Is Found In All Living Organisms.
  • There Are Four Macromolecules Essential To Living Matter Containing C, H, O, N And Sometimes S. Nucleic Acids And Lipids Proteins Carbohydrates.

History Of Macromolecules:-


  • Bodo G, Parrish RG, Wyckoff H, Phillips DC, Kendrew JC, Dintzis HM In 1958. The Myoglobin Molecule’s Three-Dimensional Model Obtained By X-Ray Analysis.
  • Friedrich Milescher Discovered By Nucleic Acids In 1869.
  • Tertiary Structure Of Ribonuclease Discovered By Kartha G, Bello J, Harker D In 1967.
  • Genes Were Shown To Reside In DNA In 1944 (AveryEt Al.) And This Became Widely Accepted After The 1952 Experiments Of Hershey And Chase.
  • The Double Helical Structure Of The DNA Was Predicted By James Watson And Francis Crick In 1953 (Nobel Prize, 1962)
  • Hermann Staudinger (1881-1965) “Polymers Are Composed Of Very Large Molecules Containing Long Sequences Of Simple Chemical Units Linked Together By Covalent Bonds.”


Macromolecules Definition:-


The Polymerization Of Smaller Subunits Creates The Very Large Molecule Is Called Macromolecule. The Concept Is Applied In Biochemistry To The Four Traditional Biopolymers (Nucleic Acids, Proteins, Carbohydrates, And Lipids) As Well As Non-Polymer Molecules With Significant Molecular Mass Such As Macrocycles. That Are A Molecule With A Large Number Of Atom And Its Have More Than 100 Component Atoms. Most Polymers And Many Biochemical Molecules Are Macromolecules. Macromolecules Like Nucleic Acid (DNA, RNA) Proteins And Plastics Etc.

Properties Of Macromolecules:-


  • Proteins Which Are Composed Of 20 Amino Acids.
  • Polysaccharides Which Are Composed Of Monosaccharides.
  • Nucleic Acids(DNA, RNA) Which Are Composed Of 4 Nucleotides.
  • Ribonucleic Acids Which Are Composed Of Ribonucleotides.
  • Some Macromolecular Solutions Are Not Uniform In Size, That Is There Are Varying Size Molecules In The Solution.


  • Theses Macromolecules Are Called Heterogeneous Or Poly Disperses.


  • Synthetic Polymers Are A Good Example Of This. On The Other Side, Many Natural Polymers Like Proteins Are Rather Uniform In Size There Is No Variation.


  • Monomers Are Connected By Covalent Bonds That From Through The Loss Of A Water Molecule. This Reaction Is Called A Condensation Reaction Or Dehydration Reaction.


  • Nucleotides Consist Of A Phosphate Group, Nitrogenous Base And Five-Carbon  Sugar Group.



Types Of Macromolecules:-


There Are Four Macromolecules Essential To Living Matter Containing C, H, O, N

And Sometimes S. Macromolecules Example:-


  • Proteins
  • Carbohydrates
  • Nucleic Acids
  • Lipids


1.Protein C,H,N,O,S


  • Most Abundant Macromolecule In The Cell Structural, Transport, Hormonal Functions.
  • Proteins Consist Of One Or More Polymers Called Polypeptides, Which Are Made By Linking Amino Acids Together With Peptide Linkages.
  • Peptide Linkages Are Formed Through Condensation Reactions.
  • All Proteins Are Made From The Same 20 Amino Acids.
  • Different Amino Acids Have Different Chemical Properties.
  • Proteins Are Composed Of 4 Elements: Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, And Nitrogen. The Basic Unit Is Called An Amino Acid And It Looks Like This.


Types Of Protein:-


  • Primary Structure
  • Secondary Structure
  • Tertiary Structure
  • Quaternary Structure


Protein Functions:-

  • Proteins Are Very Important Molecules In Our body.
  • They Are Involved In All Cellular Functions. Each Protein Within The Body Has A Specific Function.
  • Some Proteins Are Involved In Structural Support, While Others Are Involved In Bodily Movement, Or In Defense Against Germs. Proteins Vary In Structure As Well As Function.
  • They Are Constructed From A Set Of 20 Amino Acids And Have Distinct Three-Dimensional Shapes. Below Is A List Of Several Types Of Proteins And Their Functions
  • AntibodiesAre Specialized Proteins Involved In Defending The Body From Antigens (Foreign Invaders).
  • They Are Often Referred To As Catalysts Because They Speed Up Chemical Reactions. Examples Include The Enzymes Lactase And Pepsin.




  • Carbohydrates Are Always Composed Of Carbon, Hydrogen And Oxygen Molecules
  • Monosaccharides Typically Have Five Or Six Carbon Atoms.
  • Monosaccharides Can, Such As The Ribose And Deoxyribose Of RNA And DNA, Can Serve Very Important Functions In Cells.
  • Condensation Reactions Form Covalent Bonds Between Monosaccharides, Called Glycosidic Linkages.
  • Polysaccharides Play Various Roles, From Energy Storage (Starch, Glycogen) To Structure (Cellulose
  • All Carbs Are Made Up Of Only 3 Elements: Carbon, Hydrogen, & Oxygen.
  • All Carbs Look Like This In Their Simplest Form. By The Way, This Is Called A Simple Sugar Or Monosaccharide.
  • Carbohydrates Are The Most Easily Available And The Largest Set Of Compounds Found On Earth. Based On Their Chemical Composition, There Are Four Major Classes Of Carbohydrates.


Classification Of Carbohydrates:-


  • Monosaccharides
  • Disaccharides
  • Oligosaccharides
  • Polysaccharides



  • Lipids Constitute A Very Diverse Group Of Molecules That All Share The Property Of Being Hydrophobic.
  • Fats And Oils Are Lipids Generally Associated With Energy Storage.
  • Fatty Acids, Which Make Up Fats And Oils. It Can Be Saturated Or Unsaturated. Its Depending On The Absence Or Presence Of Double Bonded Carbon Atoms.
  • Other Types Of Lipids Are Used For A Other Purposes, Including Pigmentation (Chlorophyll, Carotenoids), Repelling Water (Cutin, Suberin, Waxes) And Signaling (Cholesterol And Its Derivatives).
  • Lipids Are Joined Together By Ester Linkages.


Types Of Lipids

  • Fatty Acids
  • Glycerolipids
  • Glycerophospholipids
  • Sphingolipids
  • Sterollipids
  • Prenol Lipids
  • Saccharolipids


Biological Functions Of Lipids:-

  • Membranes
  • Energy Storage
  • Signaling
  • Maintenance Of Temperature

4.Nucleic Acid

The Nucleic Acid Is A Large Molecule, Which Is Very Important For Life, It Has A Genetic Information Code.


  • Pentose Sugar – Ribose, Deoxyribose
  • Nitrogenous Base – A, T, G, C, U
  • Phosphate Group


Types Of Nucleic Acid:- 



  • Makes Up Chromosomes, Genes
  • DNA Is Converted To RNA, Which Is Then Translated Into A Particular Protein.
  • Replicated Prior To Cell Division
  • Sequences Compared To Establish Evolutionary
  • Relationships B/T Organisms


  • Synthesized From DNA
  • Specifies The A.A Sequence In A Protein
  • Makes Peptide Bonds B/T A.A. In Ribosomes –Ribozymes


Biological Function Of Nucleic Acid

  • Replication
  • Protein Synthesis
  • Genetics Mapping
  • Drug Discovery




Protein Is The Most Abundant Macromolecule In The Cell, They Provide Structural Support, Transport Of Molecules And Hormonal Functions. Carbohydrates And Lipids Are Energy Source Of Many Organism And The DNA & RNA Are Hereditary Material, They Help Transmitters Of Genetic Information.

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