Feeder Pathways: Other catabolic pathways produce products that can enter glycolysis or the TCA cycle. Two examples are given below.
- Complex carbohydrates: In mammals, the major carbohydrate storage molecule is glycogen, a polymer of glucose linked a1-4 with a1-6 branches. The terminal acetal linkages in this highly branched polymer is cleaved sequentially at the ends not through hydrolysis but through phosphorolysis to produce lots of glucose-1-phosphate which can enter glycolysis.
- Lipids: Lipids are stored mostly as triacylglycerides in fat cells (adipocytes). When needed for energy, fatty acids are hydrolyzed from the glycerol backbone of the triacylglyceride, and send into cells where they broken down in an oxidative process to form acetyl-CoA with the concomitant production of lots of NADH and FADH2. These can then enter the mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation/electrons transport system, which produces, under aerobic conditions, lots of ATP.
- Proteins: When intracellular proteins get degraded, they from individual amino acids. The amine N is lost as it enters the urea cycle. The rest of some amino acid structures can be ultimately converted to acetyl-CoA or keto acids (like alpha-ketoglutarate- a-KG) that are TCA intermediate. These amino acids are called ketogenic. Alternatively, some amino acids, after deamination, are coveted to pyruvate which can either enter the TCA cycle or in the liver be used to synthesize glucose in an anabolic process. These amino acids are called glucogenic. Chemical reactions such as these can be used to replenish intermediates in the TCA cycle which can become depleted as they are withdraw for other reactions.
Now on to anabolic reactions.