Now that we’ve discussed the four significant classes of organic macromolecules (carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids), let’s talk around macromolecules together a whole. Every is vital cell component and also performs a broad array that functions. Combined, these molecules make up the majority of a cell’s dried mass (recall that water renders up the bulk of its complete mass). Organic macromolecules space organic, an interpretation they save on computer carbon. In addition, they may contain hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and additional minor elements.

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Comparing the Biological Macromolecules

MacromoleculeBasic Formula, key featuresMonomerExamplesUses
Proteins CHON

−NH2 + −COOH +R group

Amino acidsEnzymes, some hormonesStorage; Signals; Structural; Contractile; Defensive; Enzyme; Transport; Receptors
Lipids C:H:O

Greater than 2:1 H:O (carboxyl group)

Fatty acid and glycerolButter, oil, cholesterol, beeswaxEnergy storage; Protection; chemical messengers; defeat water


MonosaccharidesGlucose, Fructose, Starch, Glycogen, CelluloseEnergy storage; Structure
Nucleic AcidsCHONP

pentose, nitrogenous base, phosphate

NucleotidesDNA, RNAGenetic information

Dehydration Synthesis

Most macromolecules are made from solitary subunits, or building blocks, called monomers. The monomers integrate with each various other using covalent binding to type larger molecules recognized as polymers. In act so, monomers relax water molecules as byproducts. This type of reaction is recognized as dehydration synthesis, which method “to put together while losing water.”

Figure 1. In the dehydration synthesis reaction portrayed above, two molecules of glucose are connected together to type the disaccharide maltose. In the process, a water molecule is formed.

In a dehydration synthetic reaction (Figure 1), the hydrogen that one monomer combines with the hydroxyl group of one more monomer, release a molecule that water. At the very same time, the monomers share electron and type covalent bonds. As additional monomers join, this chain that repeating monomers forms a polymer. Different species of monomers can integrate in many configurations, giving rise come a diverse group that macromolecules. Even one sort of monomer can combine in a range of methods to form several various polymers: for example, glucose monomers space the constituents of starch, glycogen, and cellulose.


Polymers are broken down right into monomers in a procedure known together hydrolysis, which means “to split water,” a reaction in i m sorry a water molecule is used during the failure (Figure 2). During these reactions, the polymer is damaged into two components: one component gains a hydrogen atom (H+) and the other gains a hydroxyl molecule (OH–) native a split water molecule.

Figure 2. In the hydrolysis reaction shown here, the disaccharide maltose is broken down to kind two glucose monomers with the enhancement of a water molecule. Note that this reaction is the turning back of the synthetic reaction displayed in figure 1.

Dehydration and hydrolysis reactions space catalyzed, or “sped up,” by specific enzymes; dehydration reaction involve the development of new bonds, inquiry energy, while hydrolysis reactions break bonds and release energy. These reactions are similar for many macromolecules, however each monomer and also polymer reaction is specific for that is class. Because that example, in our bodies, food is hydrolyzed, or broken down, into smaller molecules by catalytic enzymes in the digestive system. This allows for basic absorption of nutrient by cell in the intestine. Every macromolecule is damaged down through a certain enzyme. For instance, carbohydrate are damaged down through amylase, sucrase, lactase, or maltase. Proteins are damaged down by the enzymes pepsin and also peptidase, and also by hydrochloric acid. Lipids are damaged down by lipases. Failure of these macromolecules provides power for cellular activities.

Visit this site to view visual representations of dehydration synthesis and also hydrolysis.

In Summary: Different species of organic Macromolecules

Proteins, carbohydrates, nucleic acids, and also lipids room the four significant classes of organic macromolecules—large molecules important for life the are built from smaller organic molecules. Macromolecules are made up of solitary units well-known as monomers that space joined by covalent binding to type larger polymers. The polymer is more than the sum of the parts: it acquires new characteristics, and also leads to an osmotic press that is much reduced than that developed by that is ingredients; this is critical advantage in the maintain of to move osmotic conditions. A monomer joins with another monomer through the relax of a water molecule, causing the formation of a covalent bond. These species of reactions are known as dehydration or condensation reactions. As soon as polymers are damaged down right into smaller devices (monomers), a molecule of water is used for every bond broken by this reactions; together reactions are recognized as hydrolysis reactions. Dehydration and also hydrolysis reactions are similar for all macromolecules, yet each monomer and polymer reaction is details to its class. Dehydration reactions frequently require an investment of power for brand-new bond formation, if hydrolysis reactions frequently release energy by breaking bonds.

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