Macromolecules and Basic Cellular Chemistry

Macromolecules are composed of units that have structural polarity. As such, these molecules are not symmetrical, but rather have ends that are structurally different (a "head" and a "tail"). Some molecules may have a positively-charged end and a negatively-charged end. Structural polarity gives a macromolecule a sense of direction or orientation. Because of this directional nature of their structure, biological macromolecule subunits have the capacity to specify information in their arrangement. Biomolecular interactions, recognition, and environmental conditions are determined by numerous weak forces, such as hydrogen bonds or hydrophobic interactions, as well as structural complementarity.

Enzymes are macromolecules that accelerate (or catalyze) chemical reaction rates by several orders of magnitude, and add a measure of specificity to the reaction (i.e., only select substances may interact with the enzyme). Controlling enzyme activity allows control of metabolic reactions.

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