Within the fields of molecular biology and pharmacology, a small molecule is a low molecular weight (< 900 daltons ) organic compound that may regulate a biological process, with a size on the order of 1 nm. Many drugs are small molecules. Larger structures such as nucleic acids and proteins, and many polysaccharides are not small molecules, although their constituent monomers (ribo- or deoxyribonucleotides, amino acids, and monosaccharides, respectively) are often considered small molecules. Small molecules may be used as research tools to probe biological function as well as leads in the development of new therapeutic agents. Some can inhibit a specific function of a protein or disrupt protein–protein interactions.
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