Portal:Metabolism
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Portal:Metabolism

The Biochemistry Portal

Biochemistry or biological chemistry, is the study of chemical processes within and relating to living organisms. A sub-discipline of both chemistry and biology, biochemistry may be divided into three fields: structural biology, enzymology and metabolism. Over the last decades of the 20th century, biochemistry has become successful at explaining living processes through these three disciplines. Almost all areas of the life sciences are being uncovered and developed through biochemical methodology and research. Biochemistry focuses on understanding the chemical basis which allows biological molecules to give rise to the processes that occur within living cells and between cells, in turn relating greatly to the understanding of tissues and organs, as well as organism structure and function. Biochemistry is closely related to molecular biology, which is the study of the molecular mechanisms of biological phenomena.

Much of biochemistry deals with the structures, functions, and interactions of biological macromolecules, such as proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates, and lipids. They provide the structure of cells and perform many of the functions associated with life. The chemistry of the cell also depends upon the reactions of small molecules and ions. These can be inorganic (for example, water and metal ions) or organic (for example, the amino acids, which are used to synthesize proteins). The mechanisms used by cells to harness energy from their environment via chemical reactions are known as metabolism. The findings of biochemistry are applied primarily in medicine, nutrition and agriculture. In medicine, biochemists investigate the causes and cures of diseases. Nutrition studies how to maintain health and wellness and also the effects of nutritional deficiencies. In agriculture, biochemists investigate soil and fertilizers. Improving crop cultivation, crop storage, and pest control are also goals. (Full article...)

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Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) is a coenzyme central to metabolism. Found in all living cells, NAD is called a dinucleotide because it consists of two nucleotides joined through their phosphate groups. One nucleotide contains an adenine nucleobase and the other nicotinamide. NAD exists in two forms: an oxidized and reduced form, abbreviated as NAD+ and NADH (H for hydrogen) respectively.

In metabolism, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide is involved in redox reactions, carrying electrons from one reaction to another. The cofactor is, therefore, found in two forms in cells: NAD+ is an oxidizing agent - it accepts electrons from other molecules and becomes reduced. This reaction forms NADH, which can then be used as a reducing agent to donate electrons. These electron transfer reactions are the main function of NAD. However, it is also used in other cellular processes, most notably as a substrate of enzymes in adding or removing

chemical groups to or from, respectively, proteins, in posttranslational modifications. Because of the importance of these functions, the enzymes involved in NAD metabolism are targets for drug discovery. (Full article...)

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There is still a lot of work to do on Wikipedia's biochemistry articles.

Visit the Metabolic Pathways task force page to see what needs doing to the wide range of metabolism-related articles, images and templates. In particular the roadmap for article development may be of interest.

On the more general front, the Molecular and Cellular Biology Wikiproject may also have projects of interest.

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