Sign InSign Up
All Posts


Unlock the secrets of biochemistry, revealing the fascinating world of molecules and their impact on life, health, and the environment.

USMLE Guide: Biochemistry


Biochemistry is the branch of science that explores the chemical processes and molecules within living organisms. Understanding biochemistry is crucial for medical professionals, as it provides a foundation for comprehending the mechanisms underlying various diseases and their treatments. This USMLE guide aims to provide a concise overview of key biochemistry topics you should know for the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE).

1. Macromolecules

a. Proteins

  • Proteins are composed of amino acids and have diverse functions in the body.
  • Understand the structure of amino acids, including the side chain properties influencing protein folding and function.
  • Memorize the different levels of protein structure (primary, secondary, tertiary, quaternary) and their significance.

b. Nucleic Acids

  • DNA and RNA are nucleic acids responsible for genetic information storage and transfer.
  • Know the structure of DNA and RNA, including base pairing rules and the differences between them.
  • Understand DNA replication, transcription, and translation processes.

c. Carbohydrates

  • Carbohydrates serve as a primary energy source and play a role in cell communication.
  • Know the different types of carbohydrates (monosaccharides, disaccharides, polysaccharides) and their functions.
  • Understand glycolysis, the citric acid cycle, and glycogen metabolism.

d. Lipids

  • Lipids are essential for energy storage, insulation, and cell membrane structure.
  • Know the different types of lipids (fatty acids, triglycerides, phospholipids, steroids) and their roles.
  • Understand lipid metabolism, including fatty acid oxidation and synthesis.

2. Enzymes and Metabolism

a. Enzymes

  • Enzymes are proteins that catalyze biochemical reactions.
  • Understand enzyme kinetics, including Michaelis-Menten kinetics and enzyme inhibition.
  • Know the different types of enzyme regulation (allosteric, covalent modification) and their significance.

b. Metabolism

  • Metabolism refers to all the chemical reactions occurring within cells.
  • Understand the concepts of anabolism and catabolism.
  • Know the major metabolic pathways, including glycolysis, gluconeogenesis, the citric acid cycle, and oxidative phosphorylation.
  • Understand hormone regulation of metabolism and the role of insulin and glucagon.

3. Biochemical Pathways and Diseases

a. Inborn Errors of Metabolism

  • inborn errors of metabolism are genetic disorders affecting the body's ability to process specific molecules.
  • Understand the pathophysiology, clinical manifestations, and diagnostic approaches for common inborn errors of metabolism, such as phenylketonuria (PKU) and Tay-Sachs disease.

b. Biochemical Markers

  • Biochemical markers are substances measured in the body to assess organ function or diagnose diseases.
  • Know important biochemical markers, such as creatinine for renal function and cardiac troponins for myocardial damage.

c. Vitamins and Minerals

  • Understand the roles of essential vitamins (e.g., vitamin A, B complex, C, D) and minerals (e.g., iron, calcium) in human physiology.
  • Recognize common vitamin and mineral deficiencies and their associated clinical manifestations.


Biochemistry is a fundamental discipline for medical professionals, as it provides insights into the molecular basis of diseases and the mechanisms underlying drug actions. This USMLE guide serves as a starting point for your biochemistry review, covering essential topics such as macromolecules, enzymes, metabolism, and their clinical applications. Remember to consult reputable textbooks and review resources for more detailed information and practice questions. Good luck with your USMLE preparations!

USMLE Test Prep
a StudyNova service


GuidesStep 1 Sample QuestionsStep 2 Sample QuestionsStep 3 Sample QuestionsPricing

Install App coming soon

© 2024 StudyNova, Inc. All rights reserved.