- Metabolism deals with the construction (anabolism) and destruction (catabolism) of organic macromolecules in living organisms
- Metabolism is tightly controlled and facilitated by enzymes and signaling-molecules
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Anabolism and catabolism
Metabolism includes all chemical processes that occur in the cells of a living organism. Metabolism is the basis for maintenance of the living state, as well as growth and reproduction. Metabolism can be subdivided in two categories: catabolism which deals with the breakdown of larger chemical molecules in order to produce energy and chemical components needed for the creation of structures and new cells. Anabolism is the process that describes the construction of new molecules for the support of live, usually under consumption of energy.
An example for catabolism is the glycogenolysis, which is the break down of glycogen into glucose, via enzymes such as . The opposite, i.e. the synthesis of glycogen from glucose, hence is an anabolic pathway and called glycogenesis, and catalysed by enzymes like .
Signaling and metabolism
Many if not most of these chemical processes are catalyzed by enzymes that change the dynamics of the reactions. Furthermore, the chemical reaction processes are influenced by proteins that facilitate transport of various required molecules, such as sugars, fatty acids, energy carriers etc. Many of these proteins in turn are regulated by a cascade of proteins that participate in what has been termed signaling cascade. By adaptations in the levels of expression of enzymes the cells adapt to changes in availability of nutrients and basic chemical compounds needed due to changes in the environment. Hence, many basic chemical components, such as fatty acids, cholesterol, sugars, amino acids, ATP and countless others act as signaling molecule. That means, certain proteins are designed to detect decreasing levels of these chemical components and trigger changes in expression of proteins that contribute to, for example, a higher influx of these components into the cell.
An interesting example for a protein involved in the measuring of the energy status of a cell and in signaling events, in order to maintain energy homoeostasis, is the ATP to AMP sensing .
A main component required to maintain life and thrive is carbon which is a major component of most macromolecules, such as proteins (nucleic acids), DNA (amino acids), lipids, carbohydrates (such as sugars) and several others that live is based upon. There are two main sources for carbohydrates. Heterotrophs rely on complex carbohydrate sources that stem ultimately from autotrophs which use sunlight or other external energy sources, and carbon dioxide in order to synthesize macromolecules made up from carbohydrate-compounds. This process is called carbon fixation and is achieved via photosynthesis in bacteria and plants or via chemical processes (chemoautotrophs).
The carbohydrate metabolism in heterotrophs is probably best exemplified by the gluconeogenesis, where glucose is formed from simple organic (carbon) compounds, such as amino acids. Examples for enzymes involved in the conversion into glucose are: and .
Many highly complex mechanisms have evolved for the harvest, transfer, and storage of energy from various sources, and in order to synthesize necessary compounds of life from various sources for the maintenance of life and procreation. These well defined biochemical strategies have been termed metabolic pathways. Some of the metabolic pathways are highly conserved in various species, ranging from bacteria to mammals, which indicates them as being an early invention in the evolution of life.
Some examples of ELISA detection kits for important research pathways that are available on antibodies-online: amino acids and protein pathways, with alanine aminotransferase, and glutamate dehydrogenase, carbohydrate metabolism, with amylase, and lipid metabolisms, with for example lipoprotein lipase, free fatty acids, and .
Hint: On antibodies-online.com you will find more than