Define for me one or more of the following terms?

  • Amphipathic
  • Macromolecule
  • Organic molecule
  • Dehydration reaction
  • Condensation reaction
  • Tertiary structure
  • Functional group
  • Phospholipid
  • Plasma membrane
  •  Polypeptide/protein
  • Hydrocarbon protein
  • Integral membrane protein quaternary structure
  • Isomer
  • Nucleic acid
  • Expert Answers

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    Definitions of listed terms:

    1. Amphipathic – The term refers to a molecule that contain both a polar (water-soluble), and non-polar (not water-soluble) portions in its structure. It relates to a molecule having hydrophobic and hydrophilic regions.

    2. Macromolecule – A macromolecule is a large, complex molecule or a large biological polymer. Examples include nucleic acids, proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids (fats).

    3. Organic molecule – An organic molecule is found in or produced by living systems. They consist of either carbon atoms that are in long chains or rings, where other atoms such as hydrogen, nitrogen, or oxygen are attached. They are able to form stable covalent bonds.

    4. Dehydration reaction – This is a chemical reaction between two compounds in which one of the products is water or ammonia. Dehydration reactions often occur when polymers are produced.

    5. Condensation reaction – This is the same as a dehydration reaction. (See above.)

    6. Tertiary structure – Tertiary structure describes the configuration of the folds or the arrangement of the helixes or beta structures of a polypeptide when it forms into three-dimensional configurations.

    7. Functional group – A functional group is a group of atoms that are responsible for the identifiable behaviors of a class of compounds. An example of this is the hydroxyl group in alcohols.

    8. Phospholipid- A phospholipid is a group of fatty compounds made up of phosphoric esters within living cells. Lecithin is an example of a phospholipid.

    9. Plasma membrane – The plasma membrane refers to the semipermeable covering of a cell that encloses the cytoplasm within the cell.

    10. Polypeptide/protein – A polypeptide is a chain of amino acids that are linked covalently by peptide bonds. They have a molecular weight of up to approximately 10,000. Proteins are comprised of one or more polypeptide molecules.

    11. Hydrocarbon protein – Hydrocarbons are organic compounds that are made up solely of carbons and hydrogens. They can be saturated or unsaturated. Hydrocarbons such as ethanol and methanol can be used in protein production.

    12. Integral membrane protein quaternary structure – A membrane protein is any protein found in a biological membrane. Integral proteins react strongly with the membrane. They are essentially permanently bound to the membrane. Detergents or other non-polar solvents can only break these bonds.

    13. Isomer- Isomers occur when one of two or more compounds, radicals, or ions contain the same number of atoms of the same elements but they differ in their structural arrangements and properties.

    14. Nucleic acid- Nucleic acids comprise the genetic information in all living things. There are two types; RNA, ribonucleic acid, and DNA, deoxyribonucleic acid. The five major components of nucleic acids are cytosine, guanine, thymine, uracil, and adenine.

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