By Rene Fester Kratz

Part of Molecular & Cell Biology For Dummies Cheat Sheet

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.

(Building Block)
Large Molecule Function To Identify, Look for . . .
Polysaccharide Energy storage, receptors, structure of plant cell wall Made of C,H, and O; –OH’s on all carbons except one
(Amino acid)
Polypeptide or protein Enzymes, structure, receptors, transport, and more Contain N, have N-C-C backbone
Nucleic acid
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.