biopolymers (rus. биополимеры) — highmolecular weight (polymer) compounds synthesised by living organisms.

Description

Biopolymers (from Greek βίος, “life” and πολυμερές,“consisting of many parts”) form the structural base of living organisms and support their activity by performing a variety of biological functions. Biopolymers include proteins, nucleic acids and polysaccharides. There also exist mixed biopolymers such as glycoproteins (compounds whose molecules contain oligo- or polysaccharide chains that are covalently attached to peptide chains) and lipoproteins (composed of proteins and lipids). Historically, the term "lipoproteins" is applied to all structures composed of proteins and lipids. Lipoprotein biopolymers, which are proteins with covalently bound lipids (e.g. lipoproteins, serving as an anchor for attaching proteins to the membrane) should be distinguished from lipoprotein aggregates of lipids with proteins that do not have a well-defined composition (for example, such lipoproteins transport water-insoluble lipids in blood plasma). Glycoproteins are an important structural component of the cell membranes of animals and plants. Glycoproteins include all antibodies, interferons, blood plasma and milk proteins, receptor proteins, many protein hormones, etc. Glycoproteins of erythrocyte membranes, specifically glycosylated by various carbohydrate residues, but having a homologous protein part, predetermine the human blood type.

Many biopolymers are used in the food processing and pharmaceutical industries.

Because of their size and unique properties biopolymers are used to create biomimetic nanomaterials.

Author

  • Kurochkin Ilya N.

Source

  1. B. Glick, J. Pasternak. Molecular Biotechnology: Principles and Applications of Recombinant DNA. — 3rd ed. Sigma Publishing, 2003, 784 pp.

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