In biological molecules, the carbon skeleton determines their general 3D shape. Two of the oxygen atoms have a negative charge. The carboxyl group is very versatile. Each has a phosphate group circled in red. B D E A C Correct This is an amino group, NH2. The methyl group comprises a carbon atom bound to three hydrogen atoms. Sometimes, the compound can have a methyl group but still be a polar compound overall because of the presence of other functional groups with polar properties (see the discussion on polar functional groups below). In a polar bond or molecule, electrons will concentrate in some areas than others. The oxygen atoms are more electronegative than the phosphorous atom, resulting in polar covalent bonds.

Phosphates make the molecule of which it is a part of an anion.
These groups play an important role in the formation of molecules like DNA, proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids. In BIS2A, we will review the major functional groups found in biological molecules.

A functional group is a specific group of atoms within a molecule responsible for a characteristic of that molecule. A phosphate group consists of a phosphorus atom bonded to four oxygen atom. Attribution: created by Marc T. Facciotti (own work).

Phosphate groups are common in nucleic acids and on phospholipids (the term "phospho" referring to the phosphate group on the lipid). In the common rule of thumb "like dissolves like", it is the shared or mutually well-interacting functional groups …

The interactive figures below (try spinning the molecules) depict the two molecules above, deoxyadenosine monophosphate and phosphoserine as three-dimensional models. Many biologically active molecules contain one or more functional groups. Videos in Functional Groups.

The amino group consists of a nitrogen atom attached by single bonds to hydrogen atoms.

This means that methyl groups cannot form hydrogen bonds and will not interact with polar compounds such as water.
Some organisms are comprised of only one cell whereas others have many cells that are organized into tissues, organs, and systems.

The methyl group is the only nonpolar functional group in our class list above. This results in a delocalized negative charge on the remaining oxygen atoms. In this class, we will treat these C-H bonds as effectively nonpolar covalent bonds (more on this in the Bond Types chapter). This will come in handy when considering the various interactions between cells and structures.

Practice: All of the following are examples of functional groups in biology except: a) -CH 3. b) -COOH. A variety of biologically relevant compounds contain methyl groups like those highlighted above. The content on this website is for information only. Carboxyl groups can switch back and forth between protonated (R-COOH) and deprotonated (R-COO-) states depending on the pH of the solution.


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