Bioinformatics For Dummies
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Macromolecules are just that - large molecules. The four groups of macromolecules, shown in the table below, are essential to the structure and function of a cell.

Group
(Building Block)
Large Molecule Function To Identify, Look for . . .
Carbohydrate
(Monosaccharide)
Polysaccharide Energy storage, receptors, structure of plant cell wall Made of C,H, and O; –OH's on all carbons except one
Protein
(Amino acid)
Polypeptide or protein Enzymes, structure, receptors, transport, and more Contain N, have N-C-C backbone
Nucleic acid
(Nucleotide)
Polynucleotide or nucleic acid Information storage and transfer Contain N in rings, nucleotides made of sugar, phosphate and nitrogenous base
Lipid *
(
Glycerol, fatty acids)
Fats, oils, waxes, phosopholipids, steroids Membrane structure, energy storage, insulation Made of C,H, and O; lots of C-H bonds; may have some C=C bonds (unsaturated); steroids have 4 rings
*Lipids are not polymers.

About This Article

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About the book authors:

Jean-Michel Claverie is professor of medical bioinformatics at the School of Medicine of the Université de la Méditerranée, and a consultant in genomics and bioinformatics. He is the founder and current head of the Structural and the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Claverie is the author or coauthor of more than 150 scientific publications, and a member of numerous international review panels and scientific councils. Cedric Notredame is a researcher at the French National Centre for Scientific Research. He dedicates most of his research to the multiple sequence alignment problem and its many applications in biology.

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