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Monday, January 29, 2007

Monday's Molecular #11

Name this molecule. You must be specific. We need the correct common name.

This is another easy one for everyone who has ever taken biochemistry. This compound is one of the most important energy molecules in living cells. We will discuss the very important reactions that result in synthesis of this molecule after you've been given a chance to identify it.

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  1. My first guess is that this is NAD, but upon closer examination (and after consulting our textbook) it is obviously NADPH (Figure 7.8, p 198, Horton 4e). As an undergrad (lets not talk about how long ago that was) we learned that these molecules (NADH and NADPH) are used primarily to move around reducing power (i.e., Hydrogen atoms). In the big picture scheme of things cells can use reducing power for all kinds of fun reactions. Later on, as I developed an appreciation for molecular structure and function what strikes me most is the similarity of this molecule to that powerhouse: ATP. It would be interesting to compare lists of proteins that use one molecule versus the other. Some of the binding sites must share similarity. Here is a great obscure fact for people who like to clone: once upon a time you could use either E. coli DNA ligase OR, coliphage T4 DNA ligase for cloning fragments (this was a very long time ago, before PCR was invented ;-)). The E. coli enzyme has an absolute requirement for NAD as its energy source while the much more common phage enzyme only works with ATP.

  2. You're excused for not getting it right away. You didn't write that chapter. :-)

    I remember when you were an undergraduate .... it was someplace far away from Toronto and much warmer.