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The Molecular Basis of Life

Trudy McKee and James R. McKee

Publication Date - July 2013

ISBN: 9780199316700

944 pages
8-1/2 x 11 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $162.90

In one semester: The coverage you want. The relevance your students need.


In one semester: The coverage you want. The relevance your students need.

Biochemistry: The Molecular Basis of Life is the ideal text for students who do not specialize in biochemistry but who require a strong grasp of biochemical principles. The goal of this edition has been to enrich the coverage of chemistry while better highlighting the biological context. Once concepts and problem-solving skills have been mastered, students are prepared to tackle the complexities of science, modern life, and their chosen professions.


Biochemistry: The Molecular Basis of Life, Updated Fifth Edition
by Trudy McKee and James R. McKee


A Review of Basic Principles. To ensure that all students are sufficiently prepared for acquiring a meaningful understanding of biochemistry, the first four chapters--now streamlined for easier coverage and self-study assessment--review the principles of relevant topics such as organic functional groups, noncovalent bonding, thermodynamics, and cell structure.

Chemical and Biological Principles in Balance. Comprehensive coverage offers each instructor the flexibility to decide how much chemistry or biology he/she would like to present. Chemical mechanisms are always presented within the physiological context of the organism.

Real-World Relevance. Because students who take the survey of biochemistry course come from a range of backgrounds and have diverse career goals, the updated fifth edition consistently demonstrates the fascinating connections between biochemical principles and the fields of medicine, nutrition, agriculture, bioengineering, and forensics.

The Most Robust Problem-Solving Program Available.
* In-chapter "Worked Problems" illustrate how quantitative problems are solved and provide students with opportunities to put their knowledge into action right when new concepts are introduced.
* Dozens of "Questions" are interspersed throughout the chapters, getting students critically thinking about high-interest topics.
* Finally, hundreds of multiple-choice and short-answer questions at the end of the chapters test students' knowledge, develop their conceptual understanding, and encourage them to apply what they have learned.

Simple, Clear Illustrations. Biochemical concepts often require a high degree of visualization, and the McKee and McKee art program brings complex processes to life. The book includes 700+ full-color figures, many newly enhanced for a more vivid presentation in three dimensions and consistent scale and color for chemical structures.

Currency. The updated fifth edition has been extensively updated with recent developments in the field, while remaining focused on the "big-picture" principles that are the focus of the one-term biochemistry course.

New to this Edition

  • 285 Additional End-of-Chapter Review Questions. These bonus fill-in-the-blank and short-answer questions at the end of each chapter encourage students to test their knowledge of the material and apply what they have learned.
  • New Chemistry Primer. This helpful in-text resource reviews foundational general chemistry and organic chemistry topics.
  • New Chapter-Opening Vignettes. These nineteen essays cover many fascinating topics, including the nature and diversity of life, the ocean's dark secret life, spider silk, humans and enzymes, sweet and bitter taste in diet, metabolism and jet engines, evolution as chance and necessity, oxygen's molecular paradox, global warming and renewable energy, the Gulf dead zone, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's, hypertension and uric acid, what makes us human, the medical mystery of DNA and chimeras, and the superbug MRSA.
  • New "Biochemistry in Perspective" Boxes. These boxes show students the real-world relevance of the biochemical processes that they are studying. Each box presents an opening question and concluding summary, helping students place material in its proper context. The updated fifth edition includes new essays on cell regulation and metabolism, protein folding and human disease, quantum tunneling and catalysis, wine production, turbo design dangers, myocardial infarct, the hormone cascade system, and trapped ribosomes.
  • New "Biochemistry in the Lab" Boxes. Completely new to this edition, these boxes present coverage of protein sequence analysis and glycomics.
  • In-Chapter "Key Concept" Lists. The text presents 100+ bulleted summaries with icons, along with 100+ icons for biomedical applications with new labels identifying the application. Other icons point to JMOL visualization software.
  • Expanded Coverage Throughout.
  • * Increased coverage of chemicals, and a greater focus on mechanisms
  • * Discussion of cutting-edge topics such as RNAi, epigenetics and the epigenome, macromolecular crowding, GLUT transporters, systems biology, and the contribution of dietary fructose to the current epidemics of obesity and type II diabetes
  • * Updated coverage of coenzymes, viruses, and biotechnology
  • * Extended coverage of amino acids, proteins, enzymes, carbohydrates, nucleic acids, and genetic information

Previous Publication Date(s)

July 2013
April 2008

Table of Contents

    1. Biochemistry: An Introduction
    Opening Vignette: Life: It Is a Mystery!
    1.1 What Is Life?
    1.2 Biomolecules
    Functional Groups of Organic Biomolecules
    Major Classes of Small Biomolecules
    1.3 Is the Living Cell a Chemical Factory?
    Biochemical Reactions
    Overview of Metabolism
    Biological Order
    1.4 Systems Biology
    Biochemistry in the Lab: An Introduction

    2. Living Cells
    Opening Vignette: Our Bodies, Our Selves
    2.1 Basic Themes
    Biological Membranes
    Molecular Machines
    Macromolecular Crowding
    Signal Transduction
    2.2 Structure of Prokaryotic Cells
    Cell Wall
    Plasma Membrane
    Pili and Flagella
    2.3 Structure of Eukaryotic Cells
    Plasma Membrane
    Endoplasmic Reticulum
    Golgi Apparatus
    Vesicular Organelles
    Cytoskeleton: An expanded section introduces the concept of intraflagellar transport.
    New! Biochemistry in Perspective: Primary Cilia and Human Disease: A new box describes how defects in the structural and functional properties of primary cilia contribute to human disease.
    Biochemistry in the Lab: Cell Technology
    Available Online:
    Biochemistry in Perspective: Organelles and Human Disease

    3. Water: The Matrix of Life
    Opening Vignette: Water, Water Everywhere
    3.1 Molecular Structure of Water
    3.2 Noncovalent Bonding
    Ionic Interactions
    Hydrogen Bonds
    Van der Waals Forces
    3.3 Thermal Properties of Water
    3.4 Solvent Properties of Water
    Hydrophillic Molecules, Cell Water Structuring, and Sol-Gel Transitions
    Hydrophobic Molecules and the Hydrophobic Effect
    Amphipathic Molecules
    Osmotic Pressure
    3.5 Ionization of Water
    Acids, Bases, and pH
    Physiological Buffers
    New! Biochemistry in Perspective: Cell Volume Regulation and Metabolism: A new box describes the relationship between metabolic pathways and cell volume changes triggered by osmotic imbalances.
    Available Online:
    Biochemistry in Perspective: Water, Abiotic Stress, and Compatible Solutes

    4. Energy
    Opening Vignette: Energy and Life's Deep Dark Secrets
    4.1 Thermodynamics
    First Law of Thermodynamics
    Second Law of Thermodynamics
    4.2 Free Energy
    Standard Free Energy Changes
    Coupled Reactions
    The Hydrophobic Effect Revisited
    4.3 The Role of ATP
    Biochemistry in Perspective: Nonequilibrium Thermodynamics and the Evolution of Life
    Available Online:
    Biochemistry in Perspective: The Extremophiles: Organisms That Make a Living in Hostile Environments

    5. Amino Acids, Peptides, and Proteins
    Opening Vignette: Spider Silk: A Biosteel Protein
    5.1 Amino Acids
    Amino Acid Classes
    Biologically Active Amino Acids
    Modified Amino Acids in Proteins
    Amino Acid Stereoisomers
    Titration of Amino Acids
    Amino Acid Reactions
    5.2 Peptides
    5.3 Proteins
    Protein Structure
    The Folding Problem: An updated section describes molecular chaperone-assisted protein folding.
    Fibrous Proteins
    Globular Proteins:
    5.4 Molecular Machines
    Motor Proteins
    New! Biochemistry in Perspective: Spider Silk and Biomimetics: A new box describes the structural properties of spider silk fibers and the efforts of scientists to manufacture artificial spider silk.
    Biochemistry in the Lab: Protein Technology
    Available Online:
    Biochemistry in Perspective: Myosin: A Molecular Machine
    Biochemistry in Perspective: Protein Folding and Human Disease
    Biochemistry in Perspective: Protein Poisons
    Biochemistry in the Lab: Protein Sequence Analysis: The Edman Degradation

    6. Enzymes
    Opening Vignette: Humans and Enzymes: A Brief History
    6.1 Properties of Enzymes
    6.2 Classification of Enzymes
    6.3 Enzyme Kinetics
    Michaelis-Menten Kinetics
    Lineweaver-Burk Plots
    Multisubstrate Reactions
    Enzyme Inhibition
    Enzyme Kinetics, Metabolism and Macromolecular Crowding
    6.4 Catalysis
    Organic Reactions and the Transition State
    The Roles of Amino Acids in Enzyme Catalysis
    The Role of Cofactors in Enzyme Catalysis
    Effects of Temperature and pH on Enzyme-Catalyzed Reactions
    Detailed Mechanisms of Enzyme Catalysis
    6.5 Enzyme Regulation
    Genetic Control
    Covalent Modification
    Allosteric Regulation
    New! Biochemistry in Perspective: Alcohol Dehydrogenase: A Tale of Two Organisms: A new box describes the remarkable ability of the yeast Saccaromyces cerevisiae to synthesize ethanol, and the properties of human alcohol dehydrogenases.
    Available Online:
    Biochemistry in Perspective: Quantum Tunneling and Catalysis
    Biochemistry in Perspective: Enzymes and Clinical Medicine

    7. Carbohydrates
    Opening Vignette: Sweet and Bitter Tastes: The Role of Sugar Molecules
    7.1 Monosaccharides
    Monosaccharide Stereoisomers
    Cyclic Structure of Monosaccharides
    Reactions of Monosaccharides
    Important Monosaccharides
    Monosaccharide Derivatives
    7.2 Disaccharides
    7.3 Polysaccharides
    7.4 Glycoconjugates
    7.5 The Sugar Code
    Lectins: Translators of the Sugar Code
    New! Biochemistry in the Lab: Glycomics: A new box describes the major technologies used to determine the structure of complex carbohydrate molecules.
    Available Online:
    Biochemistry in Perspective: Sweet Medicine
    Biochemistry in Perspective: Conversion of Fischer Monosaccharide Structure onto Haworth Structure

    8. Carbohydrate Metabolism
    Opening Vignette: Metabolism and Jet Engines
    8.1 Glycolysis
    The reactions of the Glycolytic Pathway
    The Fates of Pyruvate
    The Energetics of Glycolysis
    Regulation of Glycolysis
    8.2 Gluconeogenesis
    Gluconeogenesis Reactions
    Gluconeogenesis Substrates
    Gluconeogenesis Regulation
    8.3 The Pentose Phosphate Pathway
    8.4 Metabolism of Other Important Sugars
    Fructose Metabolism
    8.5 Glycogen Metabolism
    Regulation of Glycogen Metabolism
    New! Biochemistry in Perspective: Saccharomyces cerevisiae and the Crabtree Effect: A new box describes the metabolic mechanism whereby yeast cells convert glucose into ethanol molecules that kill competitor microbes.
    New! Biochemistry in Perspective: Turbo Design Can Be Dangerous: A new box describes why turbo design pathways must be rigorously controlled.
    Available Online:
    Biochemistry in Perspective: Fermentation: An Ancient Heritage

    9. Aerobic Metabolism I: The Citric Acid Cycle
    Opening Vignette: Oxygen and Evolution: Chance and Necessity
    9.1 Oxidation-Reduction Reactions
    Redox Coenzymes
    Aerobic Metabolism
    9.2 Citric Acid Cycle
    Conversion of Pyruvate to Acetyl-CoA
    Reactions of the Citric Acid Cycle
    Fate of Carbon Atoms in the Citric Acid Cycle
    The Amphibolic Citric Acid Cycle
    Citric Acid Cycle Regulation
    New! The Citric Acid Cycle and Human Disease: A new section describes why several rare human diseases have been attributed to deficits in the citric acid cycle.
    The Glyoxylate Cycle
    Biochemistry in Perspective: The Evolutionary History of the Citric Acid Cycle
    Available Online:
    Hans Krebs and the Citric Acid Cycle

    10. Aerobic Metabolism II: Electron Transport and Oxidative Phosphorylation
    Opening Vignette: Oxygen: A Molecular Paradox
    10.1 Electron Transport
    Electron Transport and Its Components
    New! Electron Transport: The Fluid State Model vs. the Solid-State Model: A new section describes the structural and functional properties of the respirasome.
    Electron Transport Inhibitors
    10.2 Oxidative Phosphorylation
    The Chemiosmotic Theory
    ATP Synthesis
    Control of Oxidative Phosphorylation
    The Complete Oxidation of Glucose
    Uncoupled Electron Transport
    10.3 Oxygen, Cell function and Oxidative Stress
    Reactive Oxygen Species
    Antioxidant Enzyme Systems
    Antioxidant Molecules
    Biochemistry in Perspective: Myocardial Infarct: Ischemia and Reperfusion: An expanded reading describes the damage caused by the reintroduction of oxygen after blood flow interruption in heart muscle.
    Available Online:
    Biochemistry in Perspective: Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase Deficiency

    11. Lipids and Membranes
    Opening Vignette: The Low-Fat Diet
    11.1 Lipid Classes
    Fatty Acids
    The Eicosanoids: An expanded discussion of the eicosanoids describes their biological functions and roles in human disease.
    Wax Esters
    New! Phospholipases: A new section describes the functions of phospholipases.
    Sphingolipid Storage Diseases
    11.2 Membranes
    New! Membrane Structure: A new section describes the structural and functional properties of the red blood cell membrane protein AE1.
    Membrane Function
    New! Biochemistry in Perspective: Membrane Fusion and Botulism: A new box describes how botulinum toxin causes muscle paralysis by preventing membrane fusion in nerve cells.
    Available Online:
    Biochemistry in Perspective: Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase Deficiency

    12. Lipid Metabolism
    Opening Vignette: Abetalipoproteinemia
    12.1 Fatty Acids, Triacylglycerols and the Lipoprotein Pathways: An expanded discussion focuses on the distribution of triacylglycerols to the body's tissues after digestion, the triacylglycerol cycle, and glycerogenesis.
    Fatty Acid Degradation
    The Complete Oxidation of a Fatty Acid
    Fatty Acid Oxidation: Double Bonds and Odd Chains
    Fatty Acid Biosynthesis: The structural and functional properties of fatty acid synthase are updated to reflect recent research.
    New! A new table compares the details of fatty acid b-oxidation and synthesis.
    Regulation of Fatty Acid Metabolism in Mammals: An expanded discussion places fatty acid metabolism regulation in the context of AMPK control of the body's biochemical pathways.
    New! Lipoprotein Metabolism: The Endogenous Pathway: A new section focuses on the transport of synthesized lipid molecules from the liver to the body's tissues.
    12.2 Membrane Lipid Metabolism
    Phospholipid Metabolism
    Sphingolipid Metabolism
    12.3 Isoprenoid Metabolism
    New! Cholesterol Metabolism: A new section describes the effects of selected drugs on the cholesterol biosynthetic pathway.
    Biochemistry in Perspective: Atherosclerosis: The revised box describes how LDLs trapped in arterial walls become depleted of antioxidants and then contribute to atherosclerotic damage.
    Biochemistry in Perspective: Biotransformation

    13. Photosynthesis
    Opening Vignette: Climate Change, Renewable Energy, and Photosynthesis
    13.1 Chlorophyll and Chloroplasts: A revised introduction provides a more detailed overview of oxygenic photosynthesis in chloroplasts
    13.2 Light
    13.3 Light Reactions: The Z-scheme is updated to reflect recent research.
    Photosystem II and Water Oxidation
    Photosystem I and NADPH Synthesis
    13.4 The Light-Independent Reactions
    The Calvin Cycle: The Calvin cycle reactions are expanded to include the ribulose-1,5- bisphosphate carboxylase mechanism.
    Alternatives to C3 Metabolism
    13.5 Regulation of Photosynthesis
    Light Control of Photosynthesis
    Control of Ribulose-1,5-Bisphosphate Carboxylase
    Biochemistry in Perspective: Photosynthesis in the Deep
    Available Online:
    Biochemistry in Perspective: Starch and Sucrose Metabolism
    Biochemistry in the Lab: Photosynthetic Studies

    14. Nitrogen Metabolism I: Synthesis
    Opening Vignette: Nitrogen and the Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone
    14.1 Nitrogen Fixation
    The Nitrogen Fixation Reaction
    Nitrogen Assimilation
    14.2 Amino Acid Biosynthesis
    Amino Acid Metabolism Overview
    Reactions of Amino Groups
    Synthesis of the Amino Acids
    14.3 Biosynthetic Reactions Involving Amino Acids
    One-Carbon Metabolism
    Glutathione: A newly revised section focuses on the roles of this vitally important intracellular reducing agent.
    Biochemistry in Perspective: Gasotransmitters
    Available Online:
    Biochemistry in Perspective: Parkinson's Disease and Dopamine
    Biochemistry in Perspective: Heme and Chlorophyll Biosynthesis
    Biochemistry in Perspective: The Amine Neurotransmitters
    Biochemistry in Perspective: Lead Poisoning

    15. Nitrogen Metabolism II: Degradation
    Opening Vignette: Degradative Pathways and Human Disorders
    15.1 Protein Turnover: A newly revised section focuses on the ubiquitin proteasomal and autophagy lysosomal systems.
    15.2 Amino Acid Catabolism
    Urea Synthesis
    Control of the Urea Cycle
    Catabolism of Amino Acid Carbon Skeletons
    15.3 Degradation of Selected Neurotransmitters
    15.4 Nucleotide Degradation
    Purine Catabolism
    Pyrimidine Catabolism
    Biochemistry in Perspective: Disorders of Amino Acid Catabolism
    Available Online:
    Biochemistry in Perspective: Hyperammonemia
    Biochemistry in Perspective: Gout
    Biochemistry in Perspective: Heme Biotransformation

    16. Integration of Metabolism
    Opening Vignette: Hypertension and Uric Acid: A Diet Connection?
    16.1 Overview of Metabolism
    16.2 Hormones and Intercellular Communication
    Peptide Hormones: An expanded section provides a more detailed description of how insulin binding to its receptor alters intracellular processes
    Growth Factors
    Steroid and Thyroid Hormone Mechanisms
    16.3 Metabolism in the Mammalian Body: Division of Labor: New emphasis is place on glucose transport mechanisms in the body's organs.
    Gastrointestinal Tract
    Adipose Tissue
    16.4 The Feeding-Fasting Cycle
    The Feeding Phase
    The Fasting Phase
    Feeding Behavior
    Biochemistry in Perspective: Diabetes Mellitus: An extensively revised description of diabetes explains the causes and consequences of this metabolic disease.
    Biochemistry in Perspective: Obesity and the Metabolic Syndrome: The box is revised to reflect recent research, including the contribution of dietary fructose to the current epidemics of obesity and metabolic syndrome.
    Available Online:
    Biochemistry in Perspective: Mammalian Hormones and the Hormone Cascade System
    Biochemistry in the Lab: Hormone Methods

    17. Nucleic Acids
    Opening Vignette: What Makes Us Human?
    17.1 DNA
    DNA Structure: The Nature of Mutation: A newly revised and expanded discussion describes mutation types and several classes of mutagens
    DNA Structure: The Genetic Material
    DNA Structure: Variations on a Theme
    DNA Supercoiling: A newly enhanced description of supercoiling makes this difficult topic easier to understand
    Chromosomes and Chromatin
    Genome Structure
    17.2 RNA
    Transfer RNA
    Ribosomal RNA
    Messenger RNA
    Noncoding RNA
    17.3 Viruses
    Bacteriophage T4: A Viral Lifestyle
    Biochemistry in the Lab: Nucleic Acid Methods
    New! Biochemistry in Perspective: Epigenetics and the Epigenome: Genetic Inheritance Beyond DNA Base Sequences: A new box provides an accessible introduction to a mechanism that alters gene expression during development.
    Biochemistry in Perspective: HIV: An updated box reading describes the infective mechanism of HIV
    Available Online:
    Biochemistry in Perspective: A Short History of DNA Research: The Early Days

    18. Genetic Information
    Opening Vignette: DNA and Chimeras: A Biological and Medical Mystery
    18.1 Genetic Information: Replication, Repair, and Recombination
    DNA Replication: Expanded sections describe the functions of the prokaryotic and eukaryotic DNA polymerases.
    DNA Repair: An updated and expanded section describes transcription-associated, mismatch, and double-strand repair.
    DNA Recombination
    18.2 Transcription
    Transcription in Prokaryotes
    Transcription in Eukaryotes: The structural and functional properties of RNA pol II are updated.
    18.3 Gene Expression
    Gene Expression in Prokaryotes
    New! Gene Expression in Eukaryotes: A new section describes posttranscriptional gene silencing.
    Biochemistry in Perspective: Genomics
    New! Biochemistry in Perspective: Carcinogenesis: A new section outlines the roles of tumor suppressors.

    19. Protein Synthesis
    Opening Vignette: MRSA, the Superbug
    19.1 The Genetic Code
    Codon-Anticodon Interactions
    The Aminoacyl-tRNA Synthease Reaction
    19.2 Protein Synthesis
    Prokaryotic Protein Synthesis
    Eukaryotic Protein Synthesis: Eukaryotic translation initiation is updated. New sections describe mitochondrial posttranslational protein import and mTOR-mediated translation control.
    New! Biochemistry in Perspective: Trapped Ribosomes: RNA to the Rescue: A new box describes the tactics used by living organisms to release ribosomes attempting to translate truncated mRNAs without stop codons.
    Biochemistry in Perspective: Context-Dependent Coding Rearrangement
    Biochemistry in the Lab: Proteomics
    Available Online:
    Biochemistry in Perspective: EF-Tu: A Motor Protein