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The Organic Chemistry of Biological Pathways

TextbookNew Edition

By: John E McMurry (Author), Tadhg P Begley (Author)

576 pages, illustrations, tables

W.H. Freeman & Co. Ltd

Hardback | Apr 2016 | Edition: 2 | #232599 | ISBN-13: 9781936221561
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £59.99 $73/€67 approx

About this book

The Organic Chemistry of Biological Pathways was written for an audience of advanced undergraduates and graduate students who want a deeper understanding of the chemical reactions that take place in living organisms. The authors assume readers have a background in organic chemistry at the level of the typical two-semester college course. Although enzymes are crucial to biological reactions, the authors' focus always remains on the reactivity patterns of the substrate molecules and on the organic, arrow-pushing details of the individual reactions.

The authors begin The Organic Chemistry of Biological Pathways with a brief review chapter on the fundamental organic reaction mechanisms commonly found in biochemical pathways. Following this brush up on reaction mechanisms is a general introduction to the main classes of biomolecules. Then comes the heart of The Organic Chemistry of Biological Pathways: full chapters devoted to the major metabolic pathways of the main classes of biomolecules – lipids, carbohydrates, proteins, nucleotides, and secondary metabolites. In the course of these chapters, readers cover the chemistry of the common coenzymes, see examples of the common sorts of biological transformations, and ultimately begin to develop an understanding of the patterns found throughout bioorganic chemistry. The authors conclude with a summary of the reaction patterns and mechanisms frequently used in nature to effect chemical transformations, followed by a brief chapter summarizing some general themes of enzymatic catalysis.

All mechanisms have been updated in this second edition, and several hundred references to recent literature are given for those students who want more detail.

"The book's greatest strength is its emphasis on the conceptual unity of organic chemistry and biochemistry. The chemical structures are presented with great care and accompanied by lucid explanations."
– Charles Clapp, Bucknell University

"This textbook elegantly portrays the complementary nature of chemistry and biology. By describing biological processes in detailed chemical terms, the authors have provided a resource that provides an unparalleled look into the fascinating and emerging field of chemical biology."
– Hung-wen Liu, University of Texas

"This textbook satisfies a major need in chemistry curricula, bridging the gap between introductory organic chemistry and biochemistry/biology. It is the first book written for students that presents biological transformations from the perspective of organic mechanism. The book significantly augments modern biochemistry curricula and may catalyze a resurgence of interest in biological mechanism."
– Carolyn R. Bertozzi, University of California, Berkeley

"This text provides a contemporary and authoritative treatment of the molecular logic of the chemistry of life."
– Christopher T. Walsh, Harvard University

"This text/reference book uniquely bridges organic chemistry and biochemistry and appears at an opportune time when an understanding of chemical biology is becoming essential. It should be indispensable for all bioscientists interested in a chemistry-based clarification of biological pathways."
– Koji Nakanishi, Columbia University

"McMurry and Begley present the logic of biosynthetic pathways in the language of organic chemistry. This text will serve as an essential guide for new students of biological chemistry and will also prove a resource for the experienced student who aims to understand the molecular basis of biological chemistry."
– Milan Mrksich, Northwestern University


1. Organic Mechanisms in Biological Chemistry
2. Biomolecules and Their Chirality
3. Lipids and Their Metabolism
5. Amino Acid Metabolism
6. Nucleotide Metabolism
7. Biosynthesis of Some Natural Products
8. A Summary of Biological Transformations
9. Chemical Principles of Enzymatic Catalysis

A. Visualizing Protein Structures Using PyMOL
B. Using the KEGG and BRENDA Databases
C. Answers to End-of-Chapter Problems
D. Abbreviations Used in this Book


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