Biochemistry : Identifying Specific Lipid Structures

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for Biochemistry

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Identification By Structure

What is the name of the pictured fatty acid? 

Arachidonic acid

Possible Answers:

Linoleic acid

Palmitoleic acid

Eicosapentaenoic acid

Arachidonic acid

Oleic acid

Correct answer:

Arachidonic acid

Explanation:

The pictured structure represents arachidonic acid due to the 20-carbon carboxylic acid chain with characteristic unsaturated (double) bonds after carbons 5, 8, 11, and 14.

Example Question #2 : Identification By Structure

Identify the common name of the fatty acid shown here.

Real oleic acid

Possible Answers:

Arachidonic acid

Myristic acid

Palmitic ccid

Oleic acid

Linoleic acid

Correct answer:

Oleic acid

Explanation:

Oleic acid is a fatty acid consisting of 18 carbon molecules and a single unsaturated (double) bond after carbon 9, as pictured.

Example Question #1 : Identifying Specific Lipid Structures

What hormone does this structure represent?

Cholesterol

Possible Answers:

Progesterone

Estrogen

Luteinizing hormone

Testosterone

Cholesterol

Correct answer:

Cholesterol

Explanation:

The structure represents cholesterol. The hydroxyl group attached to the terminal cyclohexane and the 6-carbon chain on the opposite end are easily recognizable substituents.

Example Question #2 : Identifying Specific Lipid Structures

Organic peanut butter contains both saturated and unsaturated fats.

What is the difference between saturated and unsaturated fats?

Possible Answers:

Unsaturated fats do not contain cholesterol and saturated fats do

Unsaturated fats do not contain glycogen and saturated fats do

Unsaturated fats contain double bonds and saturated fat do not

Unsaturated fats are lipids and saturated fats are carbohydrates

Correct answer:

Unsaturated fats contain double bonds and saturated fat do not

Explanation:

Unsaturated fats are said do be unsaturated because of their lack of saturation with hydrogen atoms, due to carbon's ability to make four bonds, and one or more carbons in the hydrocarbon tail of an unsaturated fatty acid contains a double bond to another carbon. Both unsaturated and saturated fats are lipids, but neither contain cholesterol nor glycogen.

Example Question #3 : Identifying Specific Lipid Structures

Which of the following associations about lipids is false?

Possible Answers:

Steroid - multiple rings

Triacylglycerols - no hydrophobic fatty acid tails

Phospholipid - hydrophobic fatty acid tail

Glycolipids - hydrophobic fatty acid tails

Isoprene - five-carbon atoms

Correct answer:

Triacylglycerols - no hydrophobic fatty acid tails

Explanation:

Triacylglycerols, like phospholipids and glycolipids, have long, hydrophobic, fatty acid tails. Steroids are characterized by their ABCD ring structure. Isoprene, the building block of steroids and polyisoprenoids, has five carbon atoms.

Example Question #4 : Identifying Specific Lipid Structures

Based on the structure of the molecule shown below, what is the most likely identification of this compound?

Vt biochem 11 27 15 cortisol

Possible Answers:

Cortisol

Methionine

NADH

Insulin

Epinephrine

Correct answer:

Cortisol

Explanation:

For this question, we're presented with the molecular structure of some unknown compound, and we're asked to identify which answer choice offers the most likely identity for this compound.

Since there's no way for us to know exactly what this molecule is (unless you have it memorized!), we'll need to look at each answer choice.

Insulin is a peptide hormone whose main function is to allow cells in the body to take up glucose from the blood.

Epinephrine is also a hormone, but in addition it can act as a neurotransmitter. One of epinephrine's main roles is in the fight-or-flight response, where it acts to mobilize the body's energy reserves in preparation for a demanding situation.

NADH is a cofactor involved in a variety of catabolic pathways, such as glycolysis. Its main role is to act as a carrier of high-energy electrons, which it can donate into the electron transport chain to produce cellular energy in the form of ATP.

Methionine is one of the twenty amino acids found in organisms. It thus acts as a key constituent in many proteins.

Cortisol is a steroid hormone, often called the "stress hormone." It plays a variety of roles in the body, some of which influence the body's metabolism of glucose (cortisol is a type of glucocorticoid hormone).

When looking at the structure given in the question stem, we can see that this is a pretty big molecule! While we don't need to have the exact structure of cholesterol memorized, we can recall that cholesterol is a big molecule that has multiple rings in its structure, just as this compound does. Thus, we can be reasonably sure that this compound is most likely a derivative of cholesterol. Many derivatives of cholesterol function as steroid hormones, which are largely hydrophobic molecules that are able to transverse cellular membranes. Since we know that cortisol is a steroid hormone, we can assume that this structure most likely represents cortisol.

Example Question #5 : Identifying Specific Lipid Structures

Vt biochem 11 28 15

What is the most accurate description of the given compound?

Possible Answers:

This compound is a nucleic acid

This compound is a lipid

This compound is a carbohydrate

This compound is a protein

The structure is an amino acid

Correct answer:

This compound is a lipid

Explanation:

This question is presenting is with the molecular structure of some unknown compound, and is asking us to identify the most appropriate classification for it.

From the picture, we can see that this structure has a carbon backbone. On the carbon backbone, we have three long hydrocarbon chains attached to the backbone via an ester linkage. Thus, this compound is a triglyceride (also known as a triacylglycerol).

From our understanding of biochemistry, we know that triglycerides are a type of lipid, thus making this the correct answer.

The structure shown is not a protein or a nucleic acid, as both of these compounds contain nitrogen or phosphate as part of their molecular structure, respectively. Proteins are linked by a characteristic series of amino acids, each of which has a unique side chain group. Nucleic acids, on the other hand, contain a sugar-phosphate backbone connected by phosphodiester linkages, along with nitrogenous bases.

Furthermore, this structure is not a carbohydrate, as these structures generally have a carbon:hydrogen:oxygen ratio of .

Example Question #8 : Identification By Structure

From what type of molecule is vitamin A derived from?

Possible Answers:

Squalene

Triacylglycerol

Vitamin K

Glucose

Cholesterol

Correct answer:

Squalene

Explanation:

An isoprene unit  repeats many times to form molecules called terpenes. Squalene is a triterpine - made from six isoprene units. Vitamin A is known as a terpinoid because it is derived from squalene.

Example Question #9 : Identification By Structure

Arachidonate is a precursor for all of the following except __________.

Possible Answers:

thromboxanes

prostaglandins

prostacyclin

leukotrienes

cholesterol

Correct answer:

cholesterol

Explanation:

Arachidonate is a precursor for many biologically important molecules. If acted on by lipoxygenases it can be converted to leukotrienes. If acted on by prostaglandin synthase and then subsequently by another (or several other) enzymes it can be converted to prostacyclin, prostaglandins, or thromboxanes. However, it is not a precursor for cholesterol.

Example Question #6 : Identifying Specific Lipid Structures

What is the difference between linoleic and alpha-linolenic acid and what is their importance?

I. They are essential fatty acids.

II. Linoleic acid is unsaturated, has 2 double bonds and has an 18-carbon chain.

III. Alpha-linolenic acid is an eighteen-carbon molecule with 3 double bonds. 

IV. Apha-linolenic acid is a seventeen-carbon molecule with 3 carbon double bonds.

Possible Answers:

I, II, and III

II and IV

I and IV

II, III, and IV

I, II, III, and IV

Correct answer:

I, II, and III

Explanation:

Essential fatty acids cannot be produced by the body and need to be obtained thru diet. Linoleic acid is unsaturated, has 2 double bonds while alpha-linolenic acid has 3 double bonds. Both have a backbone structure of 18 carbons.

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