Question Description: Compare and contrast differences between proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and nucleic acids?
Course Hero Answer & Explanation:
The biological macromolecules have four major classes. These are the proteins (polymers of amino acids), carbohydrates (polymers of sugars), lipids (polymers of lipid monomers), and nucleic acids (polymers of nucleotides; DNA & RNA). The biological macromolecules, known as large molecules, are essential for life built from smaller organic molecules. These molecules when combined make up the majority of a cell’s mass. It is also made up of monomers, single units that are joined by covalent bonds to form larger polymers. If polymers have broken down into monomers, a molecule of water has been using for each bond broken by these reactions, known as hydrolysis.
Proteins are macromolecules that can perform various ranges of functions for the cell. It has 20 different amino acids to create larger molecules that support every process in our body such as metabolism. Amino acids are the building blocks that makeup proteins. The digestion of proteins causes the pool of single amino acids that our cells incorporate into new proteins as the need arises in our body. These molecules transmit signals between cells, makeup muscles &organs, constitute immune molecules, and help produce new proteins that can serve as a fuel source.
Carbohydrates are macromolecules which is an important energy source for the cell and provide structural support to a lot of microorganisms. It consists of monosaccharides: a single-sugar unit, disaccharides: double-monosaccharides units, and polysaccharides or multiple monosaccharide molecules. The main purpose of carbohydrates a person consumes is to provide fuel to human cells. The absorption of disaccharides and starches travel to the tissues and cells throughout the human body to power physical activities. Fiber, a special type of carbohydrates passes throughout the gut and improves digestion by regulating bowel functions.
Lipids are macromolecules that are nonpolar and hydrophobic molecules which is not soluble in water and don’t form long sequences made up of similar smaller units, unlike other macromolecules. Instead, they form the structure of cell membranes and participates in the synthesis of hormones. The fats and oils are made up of fatty acids and glycerol that are a stored form of energy that includes triglycerides. The fats we consume are triglycerides which consist of three fatty acids. For instance, fatty acids that are saturated with many hydrogen atoms can hold solid, while unsaturated fatty acids are liquid.
Nucleic acids such as DNA and RNA are made up of units called nucleotides which direct the synthesis of new protein molecules. Also, these are molecules made up of repeating units of nucleotides that direct protein synthesis and cell division. The nucleic acid DNA carries a genetic blueprint that influences human personality characteristics. Whereas, nucleic acid RNA forms new protein as human cells needed it by pulling together amino acids. Moreover, it is not a source of calories in the human diet that makes it different from the other macronutrients
Lastly, Lipids and carbohydrates are made only of CHO (carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen). Whereas, proteins are made of CHON (carbon, hydrogen, oxygen & nitrogen). On the other hand, nucleic acids contain CHONP (carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and phosphorus). The proteins, carbohydrates, and nucleic acids are considered biopolymers, whereas lipids are an example of large non-polymeric molecules.
Macromolecules are very large molecules that are composed of thousands of covalently bonded atoms. It has four major classes of macromolecules which are proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and nucleic acids. The smaller macromolecules are called monomers, while many macromolecules are called polymers.
Remember also that all the four macromolecules contain oxygen, carbon, hydrogen and play vital roles in the life of a cell and the proper functioning of all living things.