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Dimers of carboxylic acids are often found in vapour phase.

A dimer is a chemical or biological entity consisting of two structurally similar subunits called monomers, which are joined by bonds, which can be strong or weak.


Organic chemistry

The dimer of cyclopentadiene although this might not be readily apparent on initial inspection

Molecular dimers are often formed by the reaction of two identical compounds e.g.: 2A → A-A. In this example, monomer "A" is said to dimerise to give the dimer "A-A". An example is Diaminocarbenes, which dimerise to give tetraaminoethylenes:

2 C(NR2)2 → (R2N)2C=C(NR2)2

Acetic acid forms a dimer in the gas phase, the monomer units are held together by hydrogen bonds. Under special conditions, most OH-containing molecules form dimers, e.g. the water dimer.

Dicyclopentadiene is a unsymmetrical dimer of two cyclopentadiene molecules have reacted to give the product. Upon heating, it "cracks" to give identical monomers:

C10H12 → 2 C5H6

The term homodimer is used when the two molecules are identical (e.g. A-A) and heterodimer when they are not (e.g. A-B). The reverse of dimerisation is often called dissociation.


In biochemistry and molecular biology, dimers of macromolecules like proteins and nucleic acids are often observed. The dimerization of identical subunits is called homodimerization; the dimerization of different subunits or unrelated monomers is called heterodimerization. Most dimers in biochemistry are not connected by covalent bonds with the exception of disulfide bridges. An example of this would be the enzyme reverse transcriptase, which is made of two different amino acid chains[1].




Dimerous refer to plants with organ arrangement based on the number 2, see : merosity.

See also


  1. ^ Nicolas Sluis-Cremer, Noureddine Hamamouch, Ana San Félix, Sonsoles Velázquez, Jan Balzarini, and María-José Camarasa (2006). "Structure-Activity Relationships of [2‘,5‘-Bis-O-(tert-butyldimethylsilyl)-ß-d-ribofuranosyl]- 3‘-spiro-5‘ ‘-(4‘ ‘-amino-1‘ ‘,2‘ ‘-oxathiole-2‘ ‘,2‘ ‘-dioxide)thymine Derivatives as Inhibitors of HIV-1 Reverse Transcriptase Dimerization". J. Med. Chem. 49 (16): 4834–4841. doi:10.1021/jm0604575. 


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