Cellular Respiration Overview Animation

Cellular respiration is the set of the metabolic reactions and processes that take place in organisms' cells to convert biochemical energy from nutrients into adenosine triphosphate (ATP), and then release waste products. The reactions involved in respiration are catabolic reactions that involve the oxidation of one molecule and the reduction of another.
Nutrients commonly used by animal and plant cells in respiration include glucose, amino acids and fatty acids, and a common oxidizing agent (electron acceptor) is molecular oxygen (O2). Bacteria and archaea can also be lithotrophs and these organisms may respire using a broad range of inorganic molecules as electron donors and acceptors, such as sulfur, metal ions, methane or hydrogen. Organisms that use oxygen as a final electron acceptor in respiration are described as aerobic, while those that do not are referred to as anaerobic.

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The energy released in respiration is used to synthesize ATP to store this energy. The energy stored in ATP can then be used to drive processes requiring energy, including biosynthesis, locomotion or transportation of molecules across cell membranes. Because of its ubiquity in nature, ATP is also known as the "universal energy currency".
Aerobic respiration
Aerobic respiration requires oxygen in order to generate energy (ATP). It is the preferred method of pyruvate breakdown from glycolysis and requires that pyruvate enter the mitochondrion in order to be fully oxidized by the Krebs cycle. The product of this process is energy in the form of ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate), by substrate-level phosphorylation, NADH and FADH2.
The reducing potential of NADH and FADH2 is converted to more ATP through an electron transport chain with oxygen as the "terminal electron acceptor". Most of the ATP produced by aerobic cellular respiration is made by oxidative phosphorylation. This works by the energy released in the consumption of pyruvate being used to create a chemiosmotic potential by pumping protons across a membrane. This potential is then used to drive ATP synthase and produce ATP from ADP. Biology textbooks often state that 38 ATP molecules can be made per oxidised glucose molecule during cellular respiration (2 from glycolysis, 2 from the Krebs cycle, and about 34 from the electron transport system).[1] However, this maximum yield is never quite reached due to losses (leaky membranes) as well as the cost of moving pyruvate and ADP into the mitochondrial matrix and current estimates range around 29 to 30 ATP per glucose.

Aerobic metabolism is 19 times more efficient than anaerobic metabolism (which yields 2 mol ATP per 1 mol glucose). They share the initial pathway of glycolysis but aerobic metabolism continues with the Krebs cycle and oxidative phosphorylation. The post glycolytic reactions take place in the mitochondria in eukaryotic cells, and in the cytoplasm in prokaryotic cells.
Glycolysis
Glycolysis is a metabolic pathway that is found in the cytoplasm of cells in all living organisms and is anaerobic, or doesn't require oxygen. The process converts one molecule of glucose into two molecules of pyruvate, and makes energy in the form of two net molecules of ATP. Four molecules of ATP per glucose are actually produced; however, two are consumed for the preparatory phase. The initial phosphorylation of glucose is required to destabilize the molecule for cleavage into two triose sugars. During the pay-off phase of glycolysis, four phosphate groups are transferred to ADP by substrate-level phosphorylation to make four ATP, and two NADH are produced when the triose sugars are oxidized.
Oxidative decarboxylation of pyruvate
The pyruvate is oxidized to acetyl-CoA and CO2 by the Pyruvate dehydrogenase complex, a cluster of enzymes—multiple copies of each of three enzymes—located in the mitochondria of eukaryotic cells and in the cytosol of prokaryotes. In the process one molecule of NADH is formed per pyruvate oxidized, and 3 moles of ATP are formed for each mole of pyruvate. This step is also known as the link reaction, as it links glycolysis and the Krebs cycle.
Citric acid cycle
This is also called the Krebs cycle or the tricarboxylic acid cycle. When oxygen is present, acetyl-CoA is produced from the pyruvate molecules created from glycolysis. Once Acetyl CoA is formed, two processes can occur, aerobic or anaerobic respiration. When oxygen is present, the mitochondria will undergo aerobic respiration which leads to the Krebs cycle. However, if oxygen is not present, fermentation of the pyruvate molecule will occur. In the presence of oxygen, when acetyl-CoA is produced, the molecule then enters the citric acid cycle (Krebs cycle) inside the mitochondrial matrix, and gets oxidized to CO2 while at the same time reducing NAD to NADH. NADH can be used by the electron transport chain to create further ATP as part of oxidative phosphorylation. To fully oxidize the equivalent of one glucose molecule, two acetyl-CoA must be metabolized by the Krebs cycle. Two waste products, H2O and CO2, are created during this cycle.
The citric acid cycle is an 8-step process involving 8 different enzymes. Throughout the entire cycle, Acetyl CoA changes into Citrate, Isocitrate, α-ketoglutarate, succinyl-CoA, succinate, fumarate, malate, and finally, oxaloacetate. The net energy gain from one cycle is 3 NADH, 1 FADH, and 1 ATP. Thus, the total amount of energy yield from one whole glucose molecule (2 pyruvate molecules) is 6 NADH, 2 FADH, and 2 ATP.
Oxidative phosphorylation
In eukaryotes, oxidative phosphorylation occurs in the mitochondrial cristae. It comprises the electron transport chain that establishes a proton gradient (chemiosmotic potential) across the inner membrane by oxidizing the NADH produced from the Krebs cycle. ATP is synthesised by the ATP synthase enzyme when the chemiosmotic gradient is used to drive the phosphorylation of ADP. The electrons are finally transferred to exogenous oxygen, and with the addition of two protons, water is formed.

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