The ABC of Biology


Sorry for misleading you with the title :D

The post below has highly subject oriented terms from Life Science field.  It MAY be difficult for you to understand it, if you are from a non-biology, or non-science field.

But..Having said that…

Life is all about learning new things every moment. It’s an ever evolving process. Since you are here, have a look at what the post is all about. At least, you will get an idea about some of the “stuffs” life science people deal with! Just keep “Google” open in another tab for frequent searches!

And Biologists, carry on!


Here is an alphabet chart created with life science related terms!

The details about each term is given below the photo. (Do notify using comments, if you find mistakes)

NB: All the descriptions below are direct copy paste from either NCBI or PharmGKB or University websites or as a last resort-from Wikipedia . Source and References quoted along each topic. An edited, simplified self written summary will be added later.

1) ABC- ATP Binding Cassette transporter.

The ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter superfamily contains membrane proteins that translocate a wide variety of substrates across extra- and intracellular membranes, including metabolic products, lipids and sterols, and drugs. Over expression of certain ABC transporters occurs in cancer cell lines and tumors that are multi drug resistant. Genetic variation in these genes is the cause or contributor to a wide variety of human disorders with Mendelian and complex inheritance including cystic fibrosis, neurological disease, retinal degeneration, cholesterol and bile transport defects, anemia, and drug response phenotypes. Conservation of the ATP-binding domains of these genes has allowed the identification of new members of the superfamily based on nucleotide and protein sequence homology. Phylogenetic analysis places the 48 known human ABC transporters into seven distinct subfamilies of proteins. For each gene, the precise map location on human chromosomes, expression data, and localization within the superfamily have been determined. These data allow predictions to be made as to potential function(s) or disease phenotype(s) associated with each protein. Comparison of the human ABC superfamily to that of other sequenced eukaryotes including Drosophila indicated that there is a rapid rate of birth and death of ABC genes and that most members carry out highly specific functions that are not conserved across distantly related phyla.

Source: NCBI . Here is the an entire book on ABC (from NCBI Bookshelf)

2) DEF- Diprivan, Esmeron and Fentanyl, a notable drug combination in anesthesia

Diprivan (propofol)

Propofol is an intravenous anesthetic agent used for induction and maintenance of general anaesthesia. IV administration of propofol is used to induce unconsciousness after which anaesthesia may be maintained using a combination of medications. Recovery from propofol-induced anaesthesia is generally rapid and associated with less frequent side effects (e.g. drowsiness, nausea, vomiting) than with thiopental, methohexital, and etomidate. Propofol may be used prior to diagnostic procedures requiring anaesthesia, in the management of refractory status epilepticus, and for induction and/or maintenance of anaesthesia prior to and during surgeries.

Source: PharmGKB     Here is the detailed pharmacogenomic analysis of the drug.

Esmeron (Rocuronium)

Rocuronium (rapid onset-curonium) is a desacetoxy analogue of vecuronium with a more rapid onset of action. It is an aminosteroid non-depolarizing neuromuscular blocker or muscle relaxant used in modern anaesthesia, to facilitate endotracheal intubation and to provide skeletal muscle relaxation during surgery or mechanical ventilation. Introduced in 1994, rocuronium has rapid onset, and intermediate duration of action. It is marketed under the trade name of Zemuron in the United States and Esmeron in most other countries. There is considered to be a risk of allergic reaction to the drug in some patients (particularly those with asthma), but a similar incidence of allergic reactions has been observed by using other members of the same drug class (non-depolarizing neuromuscular blocking drugs). The gamma-cyclodextrin derivative sugammadex (trade name Bridion) has been recently introduced as a novel agent to reverse the action of rocuronium. Rocuronium competes with acetylcholine (ACh) molecules and binds to acetylcholine receptors on the post-synaptic membrane of the motor end plate. It is indicated for inpatients and outpatients as an adjunct to general anesthesia to facilitate both rapid sequence and routine tracheal intubation, and to provide skeletal muscle relaxation during surgery or mechanical ventilation.

Source: PharmGKB.        Here is the detailed pharmacogenomic analysis of the drug


Fentanyl is an opioid analgesic. Fentanyl interacts predominately with the opioid mu-receptor but also binds to kappa and delta-type opioid receptors. These mu-binding sites are discretely distributed in the human brain, spinal cord, and other tissues. In clinical settings, Fentanyl exerts its principal pharmacologic effects on the central nervous system. Its primary actions of therapeutic value are analgesia and sedation. Fentanyl may increase the patient’s tolerance for pain and decrease the perception of suffering, although the presence of the pain itself may still be recognized. In addition to analgesia, alterations in mood, euphoria and dysphoria, and drowsiness commonly occur. Fentanyl depresses the respiratory centers, depresses the cough reflex, and constricts the pupils.

Source: PharmGKB     Here  is the detailed pharmacogenomic analysis of the drug

PS: PharmGKB says “Information pulled from DrugBank has not been reviewed by PharmGKB.”

Also, a PubMed search for “Diprivan, Esmeron and Fentanyl combination in anesthesia” did give a few publication results.

3) GH-Growth Hormone (Growth Hormone 1)

The protein encoded by this gene is a member of the somatotropin/prolactin family of hormones which play an important role in growth control. The gene, along with four other related genes, is located at the growth hormone locus on chromosome 17 where they are interspersed in the same transcriptional orientation; an arrangement which is thought to have evolved by a series of gene duplications. The five genes share a remarkably high degree of sequence identity. Alternative splicing generates additional isoforms of each of the five growth hormones, leading to further diversity and potential for specialization. This particular family member is expressed in the pituitary but not in placental tissue as is the case for the other four genes in the growth hormone locus. Mutations in or deletions of the gene lead to growth hormone deficiency and short stature.

Source: NCBI  Here is the gene details page for growth hormone 1 from NCBI

4) IJK – Haplogroup IJK in human Y chromosome

In human genetics, Haplogroup IJK is a human Y-chromosome DNA haplogroup. Haplogroup IJK is a descendant branch of the macrohaplogroup F with haplogroup IJ and haplogroup K as its attested descendants.

Human Y-chromosome DNA haplogroup is a haplogroup defined by differences in the non-recombining portions of DNA from the Y chromosome (called Y-DNA). The Y chromosome consortium has established a system of defining Y-DNA haplogroups by letters A through to T, with further subdivisions using numbers and lower case letters.

Source: Wikipedia   Here is a detailed blog describing Y chromosome haplotype including the IJK

5) LMN- Lower Motor Neuron

A motor neuron whose cell body is located in the brainstem or the spinal cord and whose axon innervates skeletal muscle fibers. Also called final motor neuron. A nerve cell that goes from the spinal cord to a muscle. The cell body of a lower motor neuron is in the spinal cord and its termination is in a skeletal muscle. The loss of lower motor neurons leads to weakness, twitching of muscle (fasciculation), and loss of muscle mass (muscle atrophy).

Referece: Medical dictionary + medterms website. Here is an NCBI page which is a chapter from a neuroscience book explaining about LMN circuits and its control.

6)OP -OrganoPhosphate

An organophosphate (sometimes abbreviated OP) is the general name for esters of phosphoric acid. Phosphates are probably the most pervasive organophosphorus compounds. Many of the most important biochemicals are organophosphates, including DNA and RNA as well as many cofactors that are essential for life. Organophosphates are the basis of many insecticides, herbicides, and nerve gases. The EPA lists organophosphates as very highly acutely toxic to bees, wildlife, and humans

Source: Wikipedia.   Here is an article about organophosphates from Medscape

7) QRS Complex

The QRS complexis one of the components of a typical electrocardiogram (ECG) tracing of a complete cardiac cycle, normally occuring after the P wave (atrial depolarization) and before the T wave (ventricular repolarization). It is a graphical representation of the cardiac impulse traveling into the ventricular myocardium.The first deflection of the QRS complex is called a Q wave when it is negatively deflected (pointing downward) and an R wave when it is positively deflected (pointing upward). A positive deflection following a Q wave is called an R wave; and a negative deflection following an R wave is designated as an S wave. A second positive deflection after the R wave is called an R’ (R prime).A QRS complex may not always contain a Q, an R or an S. Many combinations of these deflections, as well as isolated deflections are generally referred to as QRS complexes. It is important to name the various QRS waves correctly. Upper case and lower case letters are used to describe not only the type of waves or deflections present but also the general orientation of the QRS complex.

Referece:     Here is the website, and it explains QRS complex well with the help of pictures and examples.

8) TU-Tuberculin Unit

(Tuberculin Units) Tuberculin is the name given to extracts of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, M. bovis, or M. avium that is used in skin testing in animals and humans to identify a tuberculosis infection.

Source: Wikipedia  Here is a pdf of a research article about tuberculin test.

9)VW Factor- Von Willebrand factor (PS: actually the short form is VWF)

The glycoprotein encoded by this gene functions as both an antihemophilic factor carrier and a platelet-vessel wall mediator in the blood coagulation system. It is crucial to the hemostasis process. Mutations in this gene or deficiencies in this protein result in von Willebrand’s disease. An unprocessed pseudogene has been found on chromosome 22

Source: NCBI Here is the gene information about VWF from NCBI

10) XY sex determination system

The XY sex-determination system is the sex-determination system found in humans, most other mammals, some insects (Drosophila) and some plants (Ginkgo). In this system, females have two of the same kind of sex chromosome (XX), and are called the homogametic sex. Males have two distinct sex chromosomes (XY), and are called the heterogametic sex. However, an opposite scheme is found in birds.The XY sex determination system was first described independently by Nettie Stevens and Edmund Beecher Wilson in 1905.

Source: Wikipedia.

For those who dont like wikipedia here is a detailed pdf from University of Minnesota, explaining XY and other sex determination systems.

11) Z-Protein Z

This gene encodes a liver vitamin K-dependent glycoprotein that is synthesized in the liver and secreted into the plasma. The encoded protein plays a role in regulating blood coagulation by complexing with protein Z-dependent protease inhibitor to directly inhibit activated factor X at the phospholipid surface. Deficiencies in this protein are associated with an increased risk of ischemic arterial diseases and fetal loss. Mutations in this gene are the cause of protein Z deficiency. Alternate splicing results in multiple transcript variants.

Source: NCBI   Here is the entire gene information from NCBI


Here are some of my other articles which you might be interested in

Meanwhile in Mars —-An imaginary news report from Planet Mars

100 and beyond -ISRO —-An article on India’s space agency ISRO

Bannerghatta National park review – The most read review about BNP in the net.


Some hard copy subject text books I prefer in life science

Kuby Immunology                    ——–

The cell-A molecular approach by Cooper ———–

Lehninger principles of Biochemistry by Michael M Cox ——-

The same at Amazon (Click on the photo for the book)

    and    and 


Do leave your valuable suggestions/opinion/criticism/ or whatever you have to say.

Do share it with your friends if you like it.. Use the icons below!


6 thoughts on “The ABC of Biology

    1. TY! By the way, I visited ur blog. It is hard to navigate through your posts because of disparity b/w the background image and the font color used. So, please make it readable! :)

      1. Maybe it is meant to be difficult, available only to the patient the persistent?!
        Then again, I’m just a beginner and maybe i need some help formatting it!
        Cheers & peace!

  1. Hey Shibin! You are doing a great job and I can see how much pleasure it gives to be so much involved in maintaining this blog. Well, without asking your permission, I have circulated this link here at RGCB :-) Keep going!

    1. Thanks a lot prathiba chechi….What do you say, is the description I gave okay? Or should i re write it, in my own words? I guess, people from life science field will be able to understand it like the way it is isnt it? And, thanks a lot for circulating it!!!!

      1. Hey, its is fine the way it’s written and as you said people from our background will definitely follow it! :-)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s