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What is the molecule at right?


What is the molecule below?


Sucrose - Table Sugar

Sucrose is a di-saccharide - two simple sugars connected together.

At this point, we can simplify the picture just a bit.

Sucralose - Artificial sugar

Sucralose is a di-saccharide - two simple sugars connected together, but with some OH groups replaced by the larger Cl (orange).

At this point, we can simplify the picture just a bit.


This family of naturally occuring cyclic oligosaccharides has a variety of uses, all centered on the fact that the molecules are water soluble, yet can bind insoluble compounds within the ring. They are used to bind pollutants and toxins in environmental remediation.

They also bind cholesterol. and are used industrially to remove cholesterol from food stuffs. They are being explored in the treatment of Niemann Pick Type C disease, a disorder in which young children are unable to normally metabolize cholesterol (recent work of Brown & Goldstein, winners of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1985).

How does this "really" look?


Plays essential roles in our cells

Key features


DNA is a polymer made up of connected "ATP-like" molecules

Find a single AMP

A very small protein

Bovine pancreatic trypsin inhibitor - an example of a polypeptide (polymer of connected amino acids) - about 3.5 nm in size

Problem: this is a single chain polymer, but who can tell?

A moderately big protein

T7 RNA polymerase - a "small" RNA polymerase (the enzyme that makes RNA copies from archival DNA)

A single chain polymer, almost 10 nm across. Let's follow the path

"Hammerhead" Ribozyme

We now know that RNA can form protein-like structures

The old view:
2D view of the Hammerhead Ribozyme     Ball peen hammer

In 2D it looks like a hammer. In 3D, no...

The Ribosome

The next protein in the central dogma, the one that takes information in RNA and converts it into protein, is really big!

Cartoonify the protein