Chemistry and biology overlap heavily, and the areas in which these two sciences merge is studied by the field of biochemistry. Biochemists study the myriad chemical reactions that occur in living things. The picture is of an important enzyme called cytochrome P-450. Enzymes are nature’s catalysts. They are large protein molecules that act to speed up biochemical reactions in a very specific way. Almost every chemical reaction that occurs in a living organism proceeds with the help of an enzyme that catalyzes only that specific reaction. There are many different types of cytochrome-P450 enzymes, and they catalyze important reactions such as the synthesis and breakdown of certain hormones, the synthesis of cholesterol, and the metabolism of vitamin D. In this chapter, you will get an introduction to the major categories of biomolecules and some of the functions that they serve in living organisms.
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