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6: Energy and Metabolism

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    • 6.1: Basics of Energy
      Living organisms are made up of cells, and cells contain a horde of biochemical components. Living cells, though, are not random collections of these molecules. They are extraordinarily organized or "ordered". By contrast, in the nonliving world, there is a universal tendency to increase disorder. Maintaining and creating order in cells takes the input of energy. Without the input of energy, life is not possible.
    • 6.2: Metabolism - Sugars
    • 6.3: Citric Acid Cycle and Related Pathways
      The primary catabolic pathway in the body is the citric acid cycle because it is here that oxidation to carbon dioxide occurs for breakdown products of the cell’s major building blocks - sugars, fatty acids, and amino acids. The pathway is cyclic and thus, does not really have a starting or ending point. All of the reactions occur in mitochondria, though one enzyme is embedded in the organelle’s inner membrane. Cells may use a subset of the reactions of the cycle to produce a desired molecule.
    • 6.4: Electron Transport and Oxidative Phosphorylation
      In eukaryotic cells, the vast majority of ATP synthesis occurs in the mitochondria in a process called oxidative phosphorylation. Even plants, which generate ATP by photophosphorylation in chloroplasts, contain mitochondria for the synthesis of ATP through oxidative phosphorylation.
    • 6.5: Fats and Fatty Acids
      There is a tremendous amount of interest in the metabolism of fat and fatty acids. Fat is the most important energy storage form of animals, storing considerably more energy per carbon than carbohydrates, but its insolubility in water requires the body to package it specially for transport. Surprisingly, fat/fatty acid metabolism is not nearly as tightly regulated as that of carbohydrates. Neither are the metabolic pathways of breakdown and synthesis particularly complicated, either.
    • 6.6: Amino Acids and the Urea Cycle
      In contrast to some of the metabolic pathways described to this point, amino acid metabolism is not a single pathway. The 20 amino acids have some parts of their metabolism that overlap with each other, but others are very different from the rest. In discussing amino acid metabolism, we will group metabolic pathways according to common metabolic features they possess (where possible).
    • 6.7: Other Lipids
      Sugars are the building blocks of carbohydrates, amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and nucleotides are the building blocks of the nucleic acids - DNA and RNA. Another crucial building block is acetyl-CoA, which is used to build many lipid substances, including fatty acids, cholesterol, fat soluble vitamins, steroid hormones, prostaglandins, endocannabinoids, and the bile acids. Indeed, acetyl-CoA goes into more different classes of molecule than any other building block.
    • 6.8: Energy - Photophosphorylation
      The third type of phosphorylation to make ATP is found only in cells that carry out photosynthesis. This process is similar to oxidative phosphorylation in several ways. A primary difference is the ultimate source of the energy for ATP synthesis. In oxidative phosphorylation, the energy comes from electrons produced by oxidation of biological molecules. In photosynthesis, the energy comes from the light of the sun.

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