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October, 2006
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Adenosine Triphosphate: An adenine nucleotide containing three phosphate groups esterified to the sugar moiety. In addition to its crucial roles in metabolism adenosine triphosphate is a neurotransmitter.

ATP Yield

JoVE 11008

Cellular respiration produces 30-32 ATP molecules per glucose molecule. Although most of the ATP results from oxidative phosphorylation and the electron transport chain (ETC), 4 ATP are gained beforehand (2 from glycolysis and 2 from the citric acid cycle).

The ETC is embedded in the inner mitochondrial membrane and comprises four main protein complexes and an ATP synthase. NADH and FADH2 pass electrons to these complexes, which in turn pump protons into the intermembrane space. This distribution of protons generates a concentration gradient across the membrane. The gradient drives the production of ATP when protons flow back into the mitochondrial matrix via the ATP synthase. For every 2 input electrons that NADH passes into complex I, complexes I and III each pump 4 protons and complex IV pumps 2 protons, totaling 10 protons. Complex II is not involved in the electron chain initiated by NADH. FADH2, however, passes 2 electrons to complex II, so a total of 6 protons are pumped per FADH2; 4 protons via complex III and 2 via complex IV. Four protons are needed to synthesize 1 ATP. Since 10 protons are pumped for every NADH, 1 NADH yields 2.5 (10/4) ATP. Six protons are pumped for every FADH2, so 1 FADH2 yields 1.5 (6/4) ATP. Cellular respiration produces a maximum of 10 NADH and 2 FADH2

 Core: Biology

The ATP Bioluminescence Assay

JoVE 5653

In fireflies, the luciferase enzyme converts a compound called luciferin into oxyluciferin, and produces light or “luminescence” as a result. This reaction requires energy derived from ATP in order to proceed, so researchers have exploited the luciferase-luciferin interaction to gauge ATP levels in cells. Given ATP’s role as the cell’s currency of…

 Cell Biology


JoVE 10743

Oxidative phosphorylation is a highly efficient process that generates large amounts of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the basic unit of energy that drives many processes in living cells. Oxidative phosphorylation involves two processes—electron transport and chemiosmosis. During electron transport, electrons are shuttled between large complexes on the inner mitochondrial membrane and protons (H+) are pumped across the membrane into the intermembrane space, creating an electrochemical gradient. In the next step, protons flow back down their gradient into the mitochondrial matrix via ATP synthase, a protein complex embedded within the inner membrane. This process, called chemiosmosis, uses the energy of the proton gradient to drive the synthesis of ATP from adenosine diphosphate (ADP). The electron transport chain is a series of complexes that transfer electrons from electron donors to electron acceptors via simultaneous reduction and oxidation reactions, otherwise known as redox reactions. At the end of the chain, electrons reduce molecular oxygen to produce water. The shuttling of electrons between complexes is coupled with proton transfer, whereby protons (H+ ions) travel from the mitochondrial matrix to the intermembrane space against their concentration gradient. Eventually, the high concentration of protons in the interm

 Core: Biology

Hydrolysis of ATP

JoVE 10732

The bonds of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) can be broken through the addition of water, releasing one or two phosphate groups in an exergonic process called hydrolysis. This reaction liberates the energy in the bonds for use in the cell—for instance, to synthesize proteins from amino acids.

If one phosphate group is removed, a molecule of ADP—adenosine diphosphate—remains, along with inorganic phosphate. ADP can be further hydrolyzed to AMP—adenosine monophosphate—by the removal of a second phosphate group. ATP consists of an adenine base, a ribose sugar, and three phosphate groups, with the latter attached to each other through high-energy phosphoanhydride bonds.

 Core: Biology

What is Cellular Respiration?

JoVE 10976

Organisms harvest energy from food, but this energy cannot be directly used by cells. Cells convert the energy stored in nutrients into a more usable form: adenosine triphosphate (ATP).

ATP stores energy in chemical bonds that can be quickly released when needed. Cells produce energy in the form of ATP through the process of cellular respiration. Although much of the energy from cellular respiration is released as heat, some of it is used to make ATP. During cellular respiration, several oxidation-reduction (redox) reactions transfer electrons from organic molecules to other molecules. Here, oxidation refers to electron loss and reduction to electron gain. The electron carriers NAD+ and FAD—and their reduced forms, NADH and FADH2, respectively—are essential for several steps of cellular respiration. Some prokaryotes use anaerobic respiration, which does not require oxygen. Most organisms use aerobic (oxygen-requiring) respiration, which produces much more ATP. Aerobic respiration generates ATP by breaking down glucose and oxygen into carbon dioxide and water. Both aerobic and anaerobic respiration begin with glycolysis, which does not require oxygen. Glycolysis breaks down glucose into pyruvate, yielding ATP. In the absence of oxygen, pyruvate ferments, producing NAD+ for continued glyc

 Core: Biology

Cellular Respiration- Concept

JoVE 10567

Autotrophs and Heterotrophs

Living organisms require a continuous input of energy to maintain cellular and organismal functions such as growth, repair, movement, defense, and reproduction. Cells can only use chemical energy to fuel their functions, therefore they need to harvest energy from chemical bonds of biomolecules, such as sugars and lipids. Autotrophic organisms, namely…

 Lab Bio

Primary Active Transport

JoVE 10706

In contrast to passive transport, active transport involves a substance being moved through membranes in a direction against its concentration or electrochemical gradient. There are two types of active transport: primary active transport and secondary active transport. Primary active transport utilizes chemical energy from ATP to drive protein pumps that are embedded in the cell membrane. With energy from ATP, the pumps transport ions against their electrochemical gradients—a direction they would not normally travel by diffusion. To understand the dynamics of active transport, it is important to first understand electrical and concentration gradients. A concentration gradient is a difference in the concentration of a substance across a membrane or space that drives movement from areas of high concentration to areas of low concentration. Similarly, an electrical gradient is the force resulting from the difference between electrochemical potentials on each side of the membrane that leads to the movement of ions across the membrane until the charges are similar on both sides of the membrane. An electrochemical gradient is created when the forces of a chemical concentration gradient and electrical charge gradient are combined. One important transporter responsible for maintaining the electrochemical gradient in cells is the sodium-potassium pump. The pr

 Core: Biology

Outcomes of Glycolysis

JoVE 11006

Nearly all the energy used by cells comes from the bonds that make up complex, organic compounds. These organic compounds are broken down into simpler molecules, such as glucose. Subsequently, cells extract energy from glucose over many chemical reactions—a process called cellular respiration.

Cellular respiration can take place in the presence or absence of oxygen, referred to as aerobic and anaerobic respiration, respectively. In the presence of oxygen, cellular respiration starts with glycolysis and continues with pyruvate oxidation, the citric acid cycle, and oxidative phosphorylation. Both aerobic and anaerobic cellular respiration start with glycolysis. Glycolysis yields a net gain of two pyruvate molecules, two NADH molecules, and two ATP molecules (four produced minus two used during energy-requiring glycolysis). In addition to these major products, glycolysis generates two water molecules and two hydrogen ions. In cells that carry out anaerobic respiration, glycolysis is the primary source of ATP. These cells use fermentation to convert NADH from glycolysis back into NAD+, which is required to continue glycolysis. Glycolysis is also the primary source of ATP for mature mammalian red blood cells, which lack mitochondria. Cancer cells and stem cells rely on aerobic glycolysis for ATP. Cells that use aerobic respirati

 Core: Biology
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