Chapter 2 notes chemical components of cells. The chemistry of life is a special kind because . Depends almost exclusively on chemical reactions that take place in an aqueous solution and in the relatively narrow range of temperatures experienced on earth. Enormously complex: even the simplest cell is vastly more complicated in its chemistry than any other chemical system. Dominated and coordinated by collections of enormous polymeric molecules whose unique properties enable cells and organisms to grow and reproduce and do all the other things that are characteristic of life. Tightly regulated: cells deploy a variety of mechanisms to make sure that all their chemical reactions occur at the proper place and time. The smallest particle of an element that still retains its distinctive chemical properties is an atom characteristics of substances depend on which atoms they contain and the way these atoms are linked together in groups to form molecules.