Developing a new approach for building quantum computers

Quantum computing, though still in its early days, has the potential to dramatically increase processing power by harnessing the strange behavior of particles at the smallest scales. Some research groups have already reported ...

Molecules boosting plant immunity identified

Two studies published in the journal Science by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne, Germany in collaboration with colleagues in China have discovered natural cellular molecules ...

Team creates first ever VX neurotoxin detector

City College of New York associate professor of physics Ronald Koder and his team at the Koder Lab are advancing the field of molecular detection by developing the first proteins that can detect a deadly nerve agent called ...

Process to customize molecules does double duty

Inspired by your liver and activated by light, a chemical process developed in labs at Rice University and in China shows promise for drug design and the development of unique materials.

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Small molecule

In pharmacology and biochemistry, a small molecule is an organic compound that is not a polymer. Biopolymers such as nucleic acids, proteins, and polysaccharides (such as starch or cellulose) are not small molecules, although their constituent monomers—ribo- or deoxyribonucleotides, amino acids, and monosaccharides, respectively—are often considered to be. Very small oligomers are also usually considered small molecules, such as dinucleotides, peptides such as the antioxidant glutathione, and disaccharides such as sucrose.

While small molecules almost always have a lower molecular weight than biopolymers, a very small protein with a defined fold, such as the artificial ten-amino-acid protein chignolin[1], can indeed be smaller than some exceptionally large small molecules such as triglycerides.

Small molecules can have a variety of biological functions, serving as cell signalling molecules, as tools in molecular biology, as drugs in medicine, and in countless other roles. These compounds can be natural (such as secondary metabolites) or artificial (such as antiviral drugs); they may have a beneficial effect against a disease (such as FDA approved drugs) or may be detrimental (such as teratogens and carcinogens).

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