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...

Direct and indirect physiologic effects of growth hormone
Animal Growth Hormones

Hormones are produced in the endocrine glands of animals. The pituitary gland and hypothalamus are the most impor..

Carbohydrates, fats and proteins - dietary sources
A Balanced Diet – Carbohydrates and Fat

Apart from vitamins, the human body also requires high energy sources such as carbohydrates and fats. If you want an ove..

Thermographic image of face and neck
Regulation of Organic Metabolism, Growth and Energy Balance

The human body is capable of regulating growth and energy balance through various feedback mechanisms. Get to know the e..

Flowers and tiny fruits of the pomegranate plant
Fruits, Flowers, and Seeds

This tutorial deals with the structure and function of flowers, fruits, and seeds. Also included here are the types of f..

New Zealand - Biodiversity fauna
New Zealand’s Biodiversity

Find out more about New Zealand's unique biodiversity by exploring a range of different ecosystems and the key role of s..

Human Nervous System
The Human Nervous System

The nervous system is essentially a biological information highway. This tutorial gives an overview of the nervous syste..