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Biological Chemistry

Biological Chemistry is the examination of the chemical processes within biological systems. It focuses on evaluating the biological signaling and flow of chemical energy through the process of metabolism within living organisms. Although, Biological Chemistry has typically been focused at explaining the living process, it today focuses mostly on understanding how individual biological molecules, along with their interactions contribute to the complexity of a whole organism. Although, Biological Chemistry is a discipline of Chemistry, it also draws on concepts from General and Molecular Biology.

Biological Chemistry largely focuses on the study of the properties and interactions of biological macromolecules which include, but are not limited to proteins, DNA, lipids and carbohydrates. The main focus is on these macromolecules because they intrinsically give or react to give the functions associated with life. Although the focus is on these macromolecules, an examination of their constituents, such as their amino acids, nucleotides, triglycerides and saccharides respectively, is also necessary.  Thus, understanding processes which synthesize these larger macromolecules are extremely crucial – processes which include the citric acid cycle, beta-oxidation and DNA replication.

Since, these macromolecules form the basis of life, the applicability of Biological Chemistry extends mainly into the fields of medicine and pharmacology. Thus, studying biological chemistry is a crucial component of understanding and predicting the different chemical processes within biological systems.

Categories within Biological Chemistry

Amino Acids and Protein Structures

The amino acid sequence shown below represents a portion of a peptide obtained from a large protein. Leu(1) His(2) Ile(3) Thr(4) Arg(5) Phe(6) Phe(7) Pro(8) Cys(9) Met(10) Gly(11) Glu(12) Ala(13) Ile(14) Pro(15) His(16) Thr(17) Glu(18) Asp(19) Cys(20) Gln(21) Met(22) Ile(23) His(2


Why is ozone considered desirable in the stratosphere, but not desirable near earth?

Nomenclature and Biomolecules

Part A Complete the following nomenclature exercise. Provide the names of compounds from formulas or provide the formula from the name. In addition, list whether the compound is covalent or ionic. Write the correct chemical formula for each of the following compounds. 1. Potassium bromide


There is 100 mg of protein dissolved in 100 mL water. Then 10 microliters of that solution is dissolved in 990 microliters of water for total volume of 1.0 mL. To calculate the concentration of protein is it 10/990 or 10/1000? And does the original concentration of solution even matter when calculating the solution concentration

Solution, colloids and suspensions

1.Particles of this mixture remain inside a semipermeable membrane. What is it Solution, colloid or suspension? 2 Each of the following mixtures is placed in a dialyzing bag that is immersed in distilled water. Which substances will dialyze? a) NaCl, starch, and amino acids(solution) b) albumin (colloidal protein),

Biological chemistry problems

1. Ethylene glycol is used as automobile antifreeze. 6.38 g of this compound contains 2.47 g of carbon and 0.620 g of hydrogen. The rest is oxygen. The molar mass is 62.0 g/mole. What are the empirical and molecular formulas of ethylene glycol? 2. Aspirin is produced in a student lab. One mole of salicylic acid (MM 138 g/mo


What tripeptide would be synthesized from the informational strand of DNA with the sequence 5' GTATCCAGT? The beta-chain of hemoglobin is a protein that contains 146 amino acid residues. What minimunm number of nucleotides must be present in a strand of mRNA that is coded for this protein?


The typical length of a DNA strand is 3.4cm. In order to fit into a cell, the DNA strand is supercoiled around proteins called histones. Histones are a family of five proteins thet are rich in the amino acids and lysine. How do histones stabilize the DNA strand? (look at the backbone of the DNA strand at the molecular level.)

Drawing Structures of Tetrapeptides

How to draw the structure of this tetrapeptide: Ala-Ser-Tyr-Thr What type of bonding between amino acid residues is most important in holding a protein and polypeptide in a specific secondary configuration?

Threonine & Leucine

Which of the amino acids, threonine and leucine, would you expect to find on the inside of a globular protein and which would you expect on the outside, if either? Why?

Tripeptide Protein: Acidic, Basic, or Neutral?

Alanine has an R-group structure of CH3, cysteine has an R-group structure of HS-CH2, and aspartic acid has an R-group structure of HOOC-CH2 Write out the structural formula for this tripeptide, asp-ala-cys. Is the tripeptide basic, acidic, or neutral? How can you tell?

Current through proteins

A direct current was passed through a solution containing alanine, histidine, and aspartic acid at a pH of 6.0. One amino acid migrated to the cathode (+) and one migrated to the anode (-) and the other remained stationary. Match the behavior with correct amino acid. The isoelectric point of histidine is 10.0.

Proteins: Primary vs Secondary Structures

Can there be a secondary structure without a primary structure? Why or why not? Can there be a primary structure without a secondary structure? Why or why not? What types of bonds are responsible for the secondary structure of a protein? How would the addition of a heavy metal affect the secondary structure of a protein?

Primary structure of glucagon

Glucagon His-ser-glu-gly-thr-phe-thr-ser-asp-tyr-ser-lys-tyr-leu-asp-ser-arg-arg-ala-gln-asp-phe-val-gln-trp-leu-met-asn-thr Which of the amino acids in the molecule would you expect to be on the inside of the protein? Why?

Are Albumins Polar or Nonpolar?

Blood is essentially an aqueous solution but it must transport a variety of non polar substances (hormones for example). Colloidal proteins, termed albumins, facillitate this transport. Must these albumins be polar or nonpolar?

Lidocaine and Bonding to Receptors

Draw abbreviated structural formulae of the products of the complete hydrolysis of lidocaine, and identity the functional groups from the first diagram attached. Lidocaine is thought to bond to receptors in its methylated form. Identify in writing the atoms or groups that could be involved in its bonding to a receptor via h


Compare and contrast coenzyme vs cofactor vs apoenzyme.