What Are the Four Types of Macromolecules?

The four types of macromolecules are nucleic acids, proteins, carbohydrates and lipids. These macromolecules are large molecules that make up most of the bodies of living things. They consist of chains of repeating units, which are known as polymers.

Each macromolecule type has its own structure and function:

  • Nucleic acids are DNA and RNA. DNA contains the genetic components and instructions in a cell, while RNA is used by the cell to make proteins. They consist of nucleotide polymers: adenosine, guanine, cytosine, uracil and thymine.
  • Proteins, which contain polymers of amino acids, provide both functional and structural functions to cells. Examples include keratin and actin.
  • Carbohydrates provide short-term energy storage to cells. They are monosaccharide and disaccharide sugars.
  • Lipids, or fatty acids, provide the long-term storage. They also provide the physical structure in animals.