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A representation of the 3D structure of myoglobin, showing alpha helices, represented by ribbons. This protein was the first to have its structure solved by X-ray crystallography by Max Perutz and John Kendrew in 1958, for which they received a Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

A biomolecule is any molecule produced by a living organism. That includes large macromolecules such as proteins, polysaccharides, lipids, and nucleic acids, as well as many smaller molecules.

Biomolecules are used in biological processes such as cell division, morphogenesis, or development.[1]

Just four elementsoxygen, carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen—make up 96% of the human body's mass. But many other elements, such as the various biometals, are also present in small (but vital) amounts.[2]

Biometals are at the heart of many biomolecules. One or two atoms of copper, zinc, iron or manganese are in the most important biological molecules.[3][4] They act as cofactors, electron donors, at the heart of key biological molecules.

Types of biomolecules[change | change source]

A huge range of biomolecules exist, including:

Biomonomers Bio-oligomers Biopolymers Covalent bond name between monomers
Amino acids Oligopeptides Polypeptides, proteins (hemoglobin...) Peptide bond
Monosaccharides Oligosaccharides Polysaccharides (cellulose...) Glycosidic bond
Nucleotides Oligonucleotides Polynucleotides, nucleic acids (DNA, RNA) Phosphodiester bond

References[change | change source]

  1. Bunge M. 1979. Treatise on Basic Philosophy, vol. 4. Ontology II: A World of Systems, p. 61-2. link.
  2. Alberts B, Johnson A, Lewis J, Raff M, Roberts K, Wlater P 2002. Molecular biology of the cell (4th ed). New York: Garland Science. pp. 120–1. ISBN 0-8153-3218-1
  3. Maret W 2018. (Arruda MA, ed). Metallomics: the science of biometals and biometalloids. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology. Springer International. 1055: 1–20. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-90143-5_1. ISBN 978-3-319-90143-5. PMID 29884959.
  4. Banci L ed. 2013. Metallomics and the cell. Dordrecht: Springer. ISBN 978-94-007-5560-4