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MP1. Overview of Metabolic Pathways: Catabolism

  • Page ID
    4260
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    Brief Summary Glycolysis
    • Tricarboxylic Acid (Kreb's) Cycle: The TCA cycle is an aerobic pathway which takes place in an intracellular organelle called the mitochondria. It takes pyruvate, the incompletely oxidized product from glycolysis, and finishes the job of oxidizing the 3C atoms all the way to CO2. First the pyruvate moves into the mitochondria where is is oxidized to the 2C molecule acetylCoA with the release of one CO2 by the enzyme pyruvate dehydrogenase. The acetyl-CoA then enters the TCA cycle where two more CO2 are released. As in glycolysis, C-C bonds are cleaved and C is oxidized by NAD+ and another related oxidizing agent, FAD. What is very different about this pathway is that instead of being a series of linear, sequential reactions with one reactant (glucose) and one product (two pryuvates), it is a cyclic pathway. This has significant consequences since if any of the reactants within the pathways becomes depleted, the whole cyclic pathway can slow down and stop. To see how this happens consider the molecule oxaloacetate (OAA) which condenses with acetyl-CoA to form citrate (see diagram below). In this reaction, one OAA is consumed. However, when the cycle returns, one malate is converted to OAA so there is no net loss of OAA, unless OAA is pulled out of the TCA cycle for other reactions, which happens.

    textinsert OxPhos Mito

    Feeder Pathways: Other catabolic pathways produce products that can enter glycolysis or the TCA cycle. Two examples are given below.


    This page titled MP1. Overview of Metabolic Pathways: Catabolism is shared under a CC BY-NC 3.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Chris Schaller.

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