News tagged with cell metabolism

Related topics: insulin resistance , type 2 diabetes , fat cells , obesity , diabetes

Researchers examine metabolism in defective cells

University of Alberta researchers are taking a closer look at how two metabolic pathways interact to increase the lifespan of cells with mitochondrial defects. Magnus Friis is the lead author of the study, which was published ...

Apr 11, 2014
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Some fat cells can feel the cold

(Medical Xpress)—To survive in cold environments, mammals burn fat to produce heat. The breakdown of fat helps prevent obesity and related metabolic diseases, such as diabetes. Bruce Spiegelman and his colleagues at Harvard ...

Jul 02, 2013
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Aging really is 'in your head'

Among scientists, the role of proteins called sirtuins in enhancing longevity has been hotly debated, driven by contradictory results from many different scientists. But new research at Washington University ...

Sep 03, 2013
popularity 4.6 / 5 (36) | comments 0 | with audio podcast

Cancer suppressor gene links metabolism with cellular aging

The tumor suppressor protein p53 is an attractive target for drug developers. But this path has so far proven difficult, as most p53 regulatory proteins operate via protein-protein interactions, which make for poor drug targets, ...

Jan 13, 2013
popularity 3.7 / 5 (3) | comments 0 | with audio podcast

Drug shows early promise in treating seizures

A study out today in the journal Nature Medicine suggests a potential new treatment for the seizures that often plague children with genetic metabolic disorders and individuals undergoing liver failure. The discovery hinges ...

Nov 17, 2013
popularity 3 / 5 (1) | comments 0 | with audio podcast

Metabolism

Metabolism is the set of chemical reactions that occur in living organisms to maintain life. These processes allow organisms to grow and reproduce, maintain their structures, and respond to their environments. Metabolism is usually divided into two categories. Catabolism breaks down organic matter, for example to harvest energy in cellular respiration. Anabolism, on the other hand, uses energy to construct components of cells such as proteins and nucleic acids.

The chemical reactions of metabolism are organized into metabolic pathways, in which one chemical is transformed into another by a sequence of enzymes. Enzymes are crucial to metabolism because they allow organisms to drive desirable but thermodynamically unfavorable reactions by coupling them to favorable ones, and because they act as catalysts to allow these reactions to proceed quickly and efficiently. Enzymes also allow the regulation of metabolic pathways in response to changes in the cell's environment or signals from other cells.

The metabolism of an organism determines which substances it will find nutritious and which it will find poisonous. For example, some prokaryotes use hydrogen sulfide as a nutrient, yet this gas is poisonous to animals. The speed of metabolism, the metabolic rate, also influences how much food an organism will require.

A striking feature of metabolism is the similarity of the basic metabolic pathways between even vastly different species. For example, the set of carboxylic acids that are best known as the intermediates in the citric acid cycle are present in all organisms, being found in species as diverse as the unicellular bacteria Escherichia coli and huge multicellular organisms like elephants. These striking similarities in metabolism are most likely the result of the high efficiency of these pathways, and of their early appearance in evolutionary history.

This text uses material from Wikipedia licensed under CC BY-SA