Structure and Function of Organic Macromolecules

  1. What is an organic molecule?
  2. Why is carbon so versatile as the backbone for organic compounds?
  3. Be able to distinguish basic classes of organic compounds based on functional groups, e.g. alcohols, acids, amines, sulf-hydryls, phosphates.
  4. What is the importance of functional groups to organic molecules in living systems?
  5. How is water involved in condensation (dehydration synthesis) and hydrolysis reactions.  How do these reaction result in the build up and break down large organic molecules (polymers)?
  6. Be familiar with the 4 main classes of organic compounds (carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, nucleic acids) which make up organisms?  Be able to name and recognize the basic units or monomers of each (monosaccharides, fatty acids, amino acids, nucleotides), their polymers (polysaccharides, fats/oils/sterols, polypeptides, polynucleotides) and the major uses for each class in living systems.
  7. Why are proteins so structurally complex?  How does this structural complexity contribute to their functions in living systems?
  8. How do nucleic acids encode the genetic material for organisms?  What nitrogenous bases are used in DNA? RNA?