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...

Lights' Effect on Growth
Lights’ Effect on Growth

This tutorial elaborates on the effect of light on plant growth. It describes how different plants require different amo..

IQ, Creativity and Learning
IQ, Creativity and Learning

Human intelligence provided the means to utilize abstract ideas and implement reasoning. This tutorial takes a further l..

A sperm cell fertilizing an ovum
Human Reproduction and Fertilization

For human species to obviate extinction, reproductive mature adults should be producing viable offspring in order to con..

Population Regulation in an Ecosystem
Population Regulation in an Ecosystem

With regard to the population size of a species and what factors may affect them, two factors have been defined. They ar..

An artistic depiction of a human embryo
Growth and Development of a Human Baby

Upon fertilization, a zygote forms and develops into an embryo. This tutorial elaborates on the growth and development f..

temperature - abiotic factor
Abiotic and Biotic Factors

This tutorial deals with the abiotic factors of the freshwater environment that determine what sort of life would be sui..