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Book Details

  • Paperback
  • Bookstore's Wholesale Price: $125.60
  • July 2012
  • ISBN: 978-0-815-34188-8
  • Territory Rights: Worldwide

The Molecules of Life


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John Kuriyan (Author), Boyana Konforti (Author), David Wemmer (Author)


Understanding the physical properties that make life possible

This textbook provides an integrated physical and biochemical foundation for undergraduate students majoring in biology or health sciences. It is particularly suitable for students planning to enter the pharmaceutical industry. This new generation of molecular biologists and biochemists will harness the tools and insights of physics and chemistry to exploit the emergence of genomics and systems-level information in biology, and will shape the future of medicine.


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Biological mechanisms explained at the level of molecular structure

The central theme of the text is that the ways in which proteins, DNA, and RNA work together in a cell are connected intimately to the structures of these biological macromolecules. The structures, in turn, depend on interactions between the atoms in these molecules, and on the interplay between energy and entropy. This results in the remarkable ability of biological systems to self-assemble and control their own replication.  

Clear, consistent pedagogical features drive understanding

A quantitative treatment of energy and the statistical basis of entropy is central to our approach. Detailed, clear derivations of equations and ample end-of-chapter practice problems ensure that even students without a physical chemistry background will develop mastery of important concepts. 

Modular and applied presentation of concepts

Rather than being encyclopedic, the text has been written and organized to be flexible so that it easily fits the course goals of many instructors. Chapters are filled with interesting examples that engage students as they learn important concepts.  

    Part I. Biological Molecules
    1. From Genes to RNA to Proteins
    2. Nucleic Acid Structure
    3. Glycans and Lipids
    4. Protein Structure
    5. Evolutionary Variation in Proteins
    Part II. Energy and Entropy
    6. Energy and Intermolecular Forces
    7. Entropy 
    8. Linking Energy and Entropy: The Boltzmann Distribution
    Part III. Free Energy
    9. Free Energy
    10. Chemical Potential and the Drive to Equilibrium
    11. Voltages and Free Energy
    Part IV. Molecular Interactions
    12. Molecular Recognition: The Thermodynamics of Binding
    13. Specificity of Macromolecular Recognition
    14. Allostery
    Part V. Kinetics and Catalysis
    15. The Rates of Molecular Processes
    16. Principles of Enzyme Catalysis
    17. Diffusion and Transport
    Part VI. Assembly and Activity
    18. Folding
    19. Fidelity in DNA and Protein Synthesis