Dictionary > Subunit

Subunit

Definition
noun, plural: subunits
(general) A subdivision or a distinct component of a larger unit
Supplement
The word subunit when used in a general sense pertains to a particular part of a larger unit. In structural biology, subunit may pertain to biochemical molecules comprised of distinct components. For instance, protein subunit pertains to a protein molecule that can assemble with another protein molecule to form a complex. Myosin, for example, is comprised of six subunits.

Microtubules, which are tubular polymers of the cytoskeleton in the cytoplasm, are each built of tubulin subunits. Proteins that have a relatively small number of subunits are sometimes described as oligomeric. Those that have a large number of subunits are described as multimeric. Protein subunits may also be classified as regulatory subunit or catalytic subunit depending on the primary function that they serve.

There are however certain complexes that have both regulatory and catalytic subunits and are termed holoenzymes.
Word origin: sub-, (meaning under) from Latin preposition sub under (close to, up to, towards) + unit
Related term(s):

Mentioned in:


You will also like...

DNA carries genes coding for proteins
Genetic Information and Protein Synthesis

Genes are expressed through the process of protein synthesis. This elaborate tutorial provides an in-depth review of the..

An artistic depiction of Dunkleosteus fish
Fish

The sea was teeming with life. Eventually, through reproduction and continued variation, fish came about. There are over..

human respiratory system
Respiration

The human respiratory system is an efficient system of inspiring and expiring respiratory gases. This tutorial provides ..

Ploidy
Polyploidy

Humans are diploid creatures. This means that for every chromosome in the body, there is another one to match it. Howeve..

Still freshwater and plants
Still Freshwater & Plants

Plants in lentic habitats have features not found in terrestrial plants. They acquired these features as they adapt to t..

Freshwater lake ecosystem
Freshwater Producers and Consumers

Freshwater ecosystem is comprised of four major constituents, namely elements and compounds, plants, consumers, and deco..