Example Question and Answer
Re. Biochemistry: Important Macromolecules in the Human Body

This is the answer page to the study question about macromolecules in the human body, which is about the material on the page: Biochemisty: Important Macromolecules in the Human Body.

Study Question:

List 10 macromolecules (or types of macromolecules) produced by the human body and give one example of the functions of each. Include in your answer at least one type of macromolecule from each of the following three categories:

  • Carbohydrates
  • Lipids
  • Nucleic Acids.

Here is an example of one possible correct answer:

(1)

Glucose (carbohydrate)

- stores energy

(2)

Glycogen (carbohydrate)

- stores energy

(3)

Triglycerides (lipids)

- store energy

(4)

Phospholipids (lipids)

- form cell membranes

(5)

Steroids (lipids)

- form cell membranes & synthesize hormones

(6)

Deoxyribonucleic acid, DNA
(Nucleic Acid)

- stores encoded hereditary data/information

(7)

Adenosine triphosphate, ATP

- transfer of energy from "storage" cells to working tissues e.g. in muscles

(8)

Glycoproteins

- regulate chemical reactions

(9)

Lipoproteins

- transport lipids in the blood

(10)

Glycolipids

- form part of cell membranes

Here is a fuller description of how to answer this question correctly, there also being other possible correct answers:

To receive full marks you would need to include 10 (ten) correct items, as listed on the following lines with an * next to each one. Alternatively, you could include any other correct examples. Your answer must include at least one item from each of the 3 categories.

Category (1): Carbohydrates
Include at least one of the following:

*

Glucose (macromolecule)

- stores energy

*

Glycogen (macromolecule)

- stores energy

*

Ribose (macromolecule)

- needed for expression of hereditary information

Category (2): Lipids
Include at least one of the following:

*

Triglycerides
(type of macromolecule)

- store energy

*

Phospholipids
(type of macromolecule)

- form cell membranes

*

Steroids
(type of macromolecule)

- form cell membranes & synthesise hormones

*

Prostaglandins
(type of macromolecule)

- regulate the action of hormones
(OR - help the immune system)
(OR - affect inflammatory responses)

Category (3): Nucleic Acids
Include at least one of the following:

*

Deoxyribonucleic acid, DNA
(macromolecule)

- stores encoded hereditary data/information

*

Ribonucleic acid, RNA
(type of macromolecule)

- carries genetic data/information
(OR - catalyses certain biochemical reactions)
(OR - acts as an adapter molecule in protein synthesis)
(OR - acts as a structural molecule in cellular organelles)

*

Messenger RNA, mRNA
(macromolecule)

- transfers genetic info from DNA to ribosomes

*

Transfer RNA, tRNA
(macromolecule)

- translates genetic info from DNA to specific amino acids,
(a specific tRNA for each amino acid)

*

Small Nuclear RNA, snRNA
(macromolecule)

- regulates & catalyses reactions involving mRNA

*

Guide RNA, gRNA
(macromolecule)

- directs editing of RNA to specific locations

Other Examples of macromolecules or types of macromolecules
The following, or other correct examples, may be used to bring your list up to the total 10 (ten) items:

*

Functional Proteins
(type of macromolecule)

- regulation of chemical reactions

*

Structural Proteins
(type of macromolecule)

- mechanical support within tissues of the body

*

Adenosine triphosphate, ATP (macromolecule)

- transfer of energy from "storage" cells to working tissues e.g. in muscles

*

Creatine phosphate, CP
(macromolecule)

- transfer of energy from "fuel" or "storage" cells to ATP.

*

Nicotinic adenine dinucleotide, NAD, (macromolecule)

- transfer of high-energy particles between chemical processes.

*

Glycoproteins
(type of macromolecule)

- regulate chemical reactions

*

Proteoglycans
(type of macromolecule)

- lubrication; increase thickness of fluids

*

Lipoproteins
(type of macromolecule)

- transport lipids in the blood

*

Glycolipids
(type of macromolecule)

- form part of cell membranes

Notes about this question:

  • Be sure to include at least one example from each of the categories indicated in the question.
  • The question only asks you to list macromolecules (or types of macromolecules) so there is no need to define, describe or draw the molecules e.g. in terms of their structures or the chemical groups or elements they include.
  • The question asks for one example of a function of each. It doesn't matter which correct example you give.
    There is no point in spending time in a test or exam giving more information than is asked for in the question if further marks are not available for that extra information; just answer the question exactly as asked.
  • When you have a choice between giving specific examples, e.g. of specific macromolecules, or of giving more general examples, e.g. of types of macromolecules, it is often easier (and so safer !) to give general examples.
    This is because when you give specific examples you need to be certain that the details you include relate to that specific case, e.g. if you name a specific macromolecule you must give an example of a function of that particular macromolecule. That is fine when you know the example you have chosen well enough to be certain, otherwise don't guess but mention more general examples so far as possible.

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