METABOLISM AT A GLANCE
Cellular metabolism comprises a set of chemical reactions that occur in living organisms in order to maintain life. Cellular metabolism involves complex sequences of tightly controlled biochemical reactions, each better known as specific metabolic pathways. These processes allow organisms, either procaryote or eucaryote, to grow, to reproduce, to uphold their structures, and respond to environmental changes.
Cellular metabolism has been divided in two generic routes: anabolism and catabolism.
– Anabolism is a constructive metabolic process in which a cell uses energy to construct from simple elements complex molecules (such as proteins and nucleic acids) that will perform essential life functions.
– Catabolism is the metabolic process by which the cell breaks down these complex molecules. Catabolic reactions generate energy and smaller components, both needed by anabolic reactions.
Metabolic chemical reactions are organized into metabolic pathways, in which one chemical is transformed into another a series of enzymes. Enzymes are crucial to metabolism and allow fine regulation of metabolic pathways to maintain a constant set of conditions in response to changes in cells environment, a process known as homeostasis.
The metabolic pathways Metabiolab intends to explore are summarized below.