Biophysics explains the biological functions of cells, tissues, and organisms in terms of the structure and behavior of biological molecules. Genes, the basic elements of biological information, reflect the molecular structures of the enormously large, linear DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) molecules of which they are made. The behavior of enzymes, hormones, and antibodies reflects the molecular structures of proteins and the organic chemistry of the functional groups of the amino acid side chains.& The surface and barrier properties of biological membranes reflect the ability of lipids to aggregate into flexible two-dimensional bilayers with hydrophobic cores and polar surfaces.
The principles governing the assembly and energetics of proteins in biological membranes and the hydrophobicity of membrane proteins are outlined in a website maintained by the laboratory of Dr. Stephen White, University of California—Irvine.
Proteins, nucleic acids, and other biological molecules can self-assemble into complex, often large macromolecular structures such as filaments, chromosomes, and ribosomes. Information on select macromolecular complexes is provided below.