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October, 2006
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Metabolism: The chemical reactions that occur within the cells, tissues, or an organism. These processes include both the biosynthesis (Anabolism) and the breakdown (Catabolism) of organic materials utilized by the living organism.

Metabolic Labeling

JoVE 5687

Metabolic labeling is used to probe the biochemical transformations and modifications that occur in a cell. This is accomplished by using chemical analogs that mimic the structure of natural biomolecules. Cells utilize analogs in their endogenous biochemical processes, producing compounds that are labeled. The label allows for the incorporation of detection and affinity tags, which can then be …


Primary Production

JoVE 10928

The total amount of energy acquired by primary producers in an ecosystem is called gross primary production (GPP). However, of this energy, producers use some for metabolic processes, and some is lost as heat, decreasing the amount of energy available to the next trophic level. The remaining usable amount of energy is called the net primary productivity (NPP). In terrestrial ecosystems, NPP is driven by climate, while light penetration and nutrient availability drive NPP in aquatic ecosystems. Energy can be acquired by organisms in three ways: photosynthesis, chemosynthesis and by the consumption of other organisms. Autotrophs, or producers, synthesize their food. Chemoautotrophs occur in ecosystems where sunlight is unavailable and use chemicals as an energy source—like hydrogen sulfide, H2S, from deep ocean hydrothermal vents—while photoautotrophs transform energy from sunlight into usable energy for the rest of the organisms in an ecosystem. The rate at which these producers obtain and transform this energy is known as the ecosystem’s gross primary production (GPP), which is also a measure of the total amount of energy accumulated by primary producers in an ecosystem. However, not all of the energy obtained by producers is available for use by other organisms in the ecosystem. During both chemosynthesis and photosynthesis,

 Core: Biology

Energy Dynamics- Concept

JoVE 10577

The Food Chain

Energy is one of the most important abiotic factors in an ecosystem and organisms in an ecosystem are connected by the flow of energy and matter among one another. Since energy can be neither created nor destroyed, it can only change form or be transferred to the next organism in a food chain. For example, every time a cow grazes on grass or an osprey hunts and…

 Lab Bio

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

What is Glycolysis?

JoVE 10737

Cells make energy by breaking down macromolecules. Cellular respiration is the biochemical process that converts “food energy” (from the chemical bonds of macromolecules) into chemical energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). The first step of this tightly regulated and intricate process is glycolysis. The word glycolysis originates from Latin glyco (sugar) and lysis (breakdown). Glycolysis serves two main intracellular functions: generate ATP and intermediate metabolites to feed into other pathways. The glycolytic pathway converts one hexose (six-carbon carbohydrate such as glucose), into two triose molecules (three-carbon carbohydrate) such as pyruvate, and a net of two molecules of ATP (four produced, two consumed) and two molecules of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH). Did you know that glycolysis was the first biochemical pathway discovered? In the mid-1800s, Louis Pasteur determined that microorganisms cause the breakdown of glucose in the absence of oxygen (fermentation). In 1897, Eduard Buchner found that fermentation reactions can still be carried out in cell-free yeast extracts, achieved by breaking open the cell and collecting the cytoplasm which contains the soluble molecules and organelles. Shortly thereafter in 1905, Arthur Harden and William Young discovered that the rate of fermentation decreases wit

 Core: Biology

Sterile Tissue Harvest

JoVE 10298

Source: Kay Stewart, RVT, RLATG, CMAR; Valerie A. Schroeder, RVT, RLATG. University of Notre Dame, IN

In 1959 The 3 R's were introduced by W.M.S. Russell and R.L. Burch in their book The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique. The 3 R's are replacement, reduction, and refinement of the use of animals in research.1 The …

 Lab Animal Research

What is Biology?

JoVE 10647

Biology is the natural science that focuses on the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, development, interactions, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. The scope of the field is extensive and is divided into several specialized disciplines, such as anatomy, physiology, ethology, genetics, and many more.

All living things share a few key traits: cellular organization, heritable genetic material and the ability to adapt/evolve, metabolism to regulate energy needs, the ability to interact with the environment, maintain homeostasis, reproduce, and the ability to grow and change. Despite its complexity, life is organized and structured. The cell theory in biology states that all living organisms are composed of one or more cells. The cell is the basic unit of life, and all cells arise from previously existing cells. Even single-celled organisms, such as bacteria, have structures that allow them to carry out essential functions, such as interacting with the environment and carry out chemical reactions that maintain life, or metabolism. In multicellular organisms, cells work together to form tissues, organs, organ systems, and finally, entire organisms. This hierarchical organization can extend further into populations, communities, ecosystems, and the biosphere. An organism’s genetic material, the biologi

 Core: Biology

Feedback Inhibition

JoVE 10735

Biochemical reactions are occurring constantly in cells, converting starting substances to different products, usually with the help of enzymes that speed the reactions. Without enzymes, it would take far too long for most reactions to occur to be useful to the cell!

Since enzymes help control the rate of reactions, their activity is regulated so that appropriate amounts of starting materials, intermediate metabolites, and products are maintained in the cell. Excessive build-up or depletion of substances can have disastrous consequences on the health of the cell and organism. In a regulatory process called feedback inhibition, the product of a reaction inhibits an enzyme at an earlier step in the metabolic pathway that produced it. The product binds to a regulatory site on the enzyme, which is distinct from the active site that binds to the substrate, thereby slowing or shutting down its own production. When the product binds to the regulatory site, it causes a conformational change in the enzyme that prevents it from binding to the substrate and continuing to catalyze the reaction. This prevents excessively high levels of the product from accumulating in the cell. When its level drops low enough, the product no longer inhibits the enzyme, and the reaction can proceed as usual.

 Core: Biology

What is Metabolism?

JoVE 10725

Metabolism represents all of the chemical activity in a cell, including reactions that build molecules (anabolism) and those that break molecules down (catabolism). Anabolic reactions require energy, whereas catabolic reactions provide it. Thus, metabolism describes how cells transform energy through a variety of chemical reactions, which are often made more efficient with the help of enzymes. Metabolism is the management of energy in cells and provides three key functions: converting food into energy to run various cellular processes, producing energy to build cell components, and removing waste products. To produce energy, macromolecules from food must be broken down into smaller molecules—through a catabolic pathway. This, in turn, provides energy to construct larger molecules from smaller building blocks—through an anabolic pathway. In other words, the potential energy in food—comprised of the chemical energy stored in the bonds between atoms—can be converted into kinetic energy that can be used for cellular reactions. Enzymes are essential molecular tools in metabolic pathways, as they greatly speed up many chemical reactions by reducing the amount of required energy. Catabolism is the breakdown of macromolecules for any purpose. This inc

 Core: Biology
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