Pattern Matching: Organic Molecules

adenine - one of the five nitrogenous bases found in nucleic acid molecules; adenine pairs with thymine in DNA.

amine group - a nitrogen (and connected hydrogens) attached to a carbon chain.

amino acids - the building blocks of proteins; each amino acid has an amino terminus (end), a carboxy terminus (end) and a side group.

amphipathic molecules - compounds which have both a polar and a non polar end.

antibody - a protein structure of the immune system which tags material for destruction by white blood cells.

artherosclerosis - a medical condition involving the occlusion of blood vessels by white blood cells and connective tissue which may lead to heart attack.

ATP - molecule which serves as a means to carry energy from one site to another (cellular energy currency).

biochemical reaction - the process in which two or more molecules (reactants) interact, usually with the help of an enzyme, and produce a product; also, a biochemical reaction may involve the breakdown of a single reactant and the production of multiple products.

building blocks - the subunits that are assembled to construct the major macromolecules in living cells, including the nucleotides, amino acids, fatty acids, and sugars.

carbohydrates - sugars, starches, and cellulose, which contain CHO and which function primarily in energy storage, energy transport, and plant structure.

carboxyl group - the carbon -oxygen part of an amino acid which allows chain formation (the addition of more amino acids); also occurs in other molecules.

cellular respiration - the processes in which cells metabolize glucose and oxygen while producing ATP.

cellulose - a carbohydrate common to plants which is a major component of plant cell walls.

chemical messengers - molecules which serve as a signal to initiate or terminate a particular cellular event; a common example is a hormone.

cholesterol - a steroid-based molecule found in many foods; high cholesterol levels are seen in correlation with a variety of health problems.

cysteine - amino acid which can confer stability upon a protein through sulfide bridging.

cytosine - one of the five nitrogenous bases found in nucleic acid molecules; cytosine pairs with guanine in DNA and sometimes in RNA.

diphosphate - two oxygenated phosphorus molecules covalently linked through an oxygen atom, often attached to an organic molecule such as a nucleoside.

disaccharide - a sugar which can be broken down into two different monomeric sugars; lactose, a disaccharide, is really one molecule of glucose joined to one molecule of galactose.

DNA - deoxyribonucleic acid, the molecule which contains the genetic code in eukaryotic cells (including humans) and many prokaryotic cells.

fats - macromolecules found in food which are broken down in the body to fatty acids.

fatty acids - long -chain hydrocarbons which have an acidic end (-COOH); fatty acids serve as the hydrophobic portion of the cellular membrane.

five-carbon sugar - a monosaccharide, such as ribose, which has five carbons in its backbone.

glucose - a six -carbon sugar important in cellular respiration and energy transport and storage.

glycogen - an animal starch made of multimers of glucose; glycogen is the body's way of storing excess glucose, primarily in the liver, until it is needed.

guanine - one of the five nitrogenous bases found in nucleic acids; guanine pairs with cytosine in DNA and in some RNA.

hemoglobin - protein in red blood cells which serves as a carrier protein for oxygen.

homeostasis - the state in which a dynamic equilibrium is reached; for instance, the body tries to keep energy levels at a constant level. When energy gets low, we eat. This brings energy levels back up until our body exhausts that supply, and then we eat again.

hormones - substances produced in one place which serve as chemical messengers at distal sites; some hormones are protein and others are steroids.

hydrocarbon chains - carbons linked together one after the other which are also linked to two or three hydrogens.

inorganic - molecules which do not contain carbon.

lipids - hydrophobic molecules which in the case of fats and oils have as building blocks fatty acids and triglycerides; other lipids are steroids and waxes; phosphorylated lipids are the major component of plasma membranes.

macromolecule - molecules such as DNA and RNA which are very large and complex.

methionine - amino acid which serves as the first amino acid in every new polypeptide chain; contains sulfur.

monophosphate - one oxygenated phosphorus molecule; if unattached called inorganic phosphate; or may be attached to an organic molecule as in AMP.

"NCC" Backbone - structure common to all amino acids.

nitrogenous base - nitrogen-containing subunits of DNA and RNA; includes adenine, thymine, cytosine, guanine, and uracil.

nucleic acid - for biological purposes, a molecule of DNA or RNA.

nucleoside - composed of two subunits, ribose or dideoxyribose attached to a nitrogenous base.

nucleotide - comprised of 3 subunits, ribose or dideoxyribose attached to both a nitrogenous base and a mono-, di-, or triphosphate group.

oils - a fluid lipid that is insoluble in water; often a prime form of energy storage in plants; liquid triglycerides.

organic - molecules containing carbon.

phosphate group - oxygenated phosphorus attached to a carbon chain (called inorganic phosphate when not attached.

phospholipid - molecule possessing both a hydrophilic phosphate -group head and a hydrophobic hydrocarbon tail.

polyunsaturated fats - solid triglyceride lipids with multiple double bonds.

proteins - building blocks and workhorses of cells; proteins are able to serve both structural and functional roles within our bodies.

ribose - five -carbon sugar found in RNA and elsewhere.

RNA - ribonucleic acid; molecule responsible for bringing the information found in the DNA to the ribosomes, the sites of protein synthesis.

saturated fats - solid triglyceride lipids with no carbon=carbon double bonds.

starch - multimeric sugar molecules found in plants.

steroid - hydrophobic, planar, multi-ring molecule which can be both a chemical messenger or hormone, or a structural unit of cells.

straight chain sugar - a saccharide molecule which is not in ring formation.

sugars - the subunits of carbohydrates which can be used by the body to create usable energy; primarily monosaccharides and disaccharides.

thymine - one of the four nitrogenous bases found in DNA; thymine pairs with adenine in DNA.

toxins - poisons for living things.

transport proteins - proteins which carry a substance from one place and leave them in another; proteins are often involved in transporting large or charged molecules across cell membranes.

uracil - one of the four nitrogenous bases found in RNA.