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Understanding Biochemistry is an essential online resource for post-16 students, teachers and undergraduates, providing up-to-date overviews of key concepts in biochemistry and molecular biosciences. The Understanding Biochemistry issues of Essays in Biochemistry are open access publications, meaning that these issues are freely available online to readers. If you are interested in contributing to the series or you have already agreed and would like details on how to format your article, please see our Instructions to Authors of Understanding Biochemistry page here.
Figure: Representation of substrate binding to the active site of an enzyme molecule.
Enzymes: principles and biotechnological applications (Peter Robinson)
Biological membranes (Helen Watson)
Describing the structure and organization of membranes, membrane proteins, communication and movement across membranes and the role of membranes in health and disease.
Photosynthesis (Matthew P. Johnson)
Discussing the basic principles of solar energy capture, energy, electron and proton transfer, and explaining the biochemical basis of carbon fixation and their significance.
The immune system (Lindsay B. Nicholson)
Focussing on mammalian immunity, the challenges that it faces, the mechanisms by which these are addressed, and the consequences that arise when it malfunctions.
Essential chemistry for biochemists (Amanda L. Jonsson, Mark A.J. Roberts, J.L. Kiappes and Kathryn A. Scott)
Providing a brief overview of those areas in chemistry that are most relevant to biochemistry, summarizing basic principles and giving examples on how these principles are applied in biological systems.
The biochemical basis of disease (Alastair J. Barr)
Providing the reader an insight into the role of biochemistry in some of the current global health and disease problems.
The genetic basis of disease (Maria Jackson, Leah Marks, Gerhard H.W. May and Joanna B. Wilson)
Exploring the genetic basis of some of the current global disease problems.
Structure and function of nucleic acids (Steve Minchin and Julia Lodge)
Summarising the structure and function of nucleic acids, including an historical perspective and some of the early work leading to the understanding of these important molecules and how they function. Transcription of DNA into RNA and translation of RNA into proteins is also covered.
Recombinant DNA technology and DNA sequencing (Mark AJ Roberts)
Exploring the basic techniques that enable us to read, copy and manipulate DNA sequences, and considering some of the implications for society.
Metabolism (Ayesha Judge; Michael S. Dodd)
This review will focus on the basics of metabolism within mammals, with mentions of other organisms too. The aim is to provide you with an understanding of the metabolic pathways that are present in animals, how energy is derived from these systems, and how they are controlled.
Uncovering protein structure (Elliott J. Stollar; David P. Smith)
Providing the reader with an insight into protein structure and the underlying chemistry and physics that is used to uncover protein structure.
Principles of synthetic biology (Kathryn L. Garner)
Synthetic biology seeks to design and build new biology that does useful things. This issue explores the fundamental principles of synthetic biology, and the wide-ranging applications and current challenges.
Mammalian lipids: structure, synthesis and function (Shamshad Cockcroft)
Lipids are essential constituents of cellular membranes and have been regarded as merely structural components – but they are much more than that with roles in cell signalling and in the generation of bioactive metabolites. This issue explores the role that lipids play in regulating physiological functions, and how they are essential for the fundamental function of the cell.