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Cell Chemistry: Enzymes, Metabolism, and Photosynthesis

1) Why are enzymes critical to the function of cells? That is, why not simply let chemical reactions occur without interference?

2) What type of molecules are enzymes (i.e., lipids, nucleic acids, etc)?

3) What wavelengths of light are best suited for use in photosynthesis?

4) Why is photosynthesis critical to nearly every life form, not just plants and algae?

5) If animals exercise anaerobically (without sufficient oxygen) for an extended period of time, lactic acid accumulates in their muscles and causes cramping. In the context of cellular respiration, explain why this phenomenon occurs.

6) Briefly explain the function of ATP synthase and the importance of ATP to all cells.

7) Why would a typical animal cell lyse (explode) if placed into a container of plain water?

8) What is the difference between passive and active transport through a cell membrane? Which method allows a cell to concentrate a substance inside itself?

Assignment Expectations:
Provide a short but thorough answer to each question. In doing so, you will demonstrate your understanding of the various chemical and transport processes that occur inside cells.

Solution Preview

Cell Chemistry
1) Why are enzymes critical to the function of cells? That is, why not simply let chemical reaction occur without interference?
Explaination: Enzymes are critical to the function of cells because they are proteins that catalyzed the chemical reactions that are required in the cells. Enzymes are specific protein "catalysts" that can speed up the important chemical reactions of the cells by reducing the activation energy for a chemical reaction. (1) Enzymes can bind to their substrate molecule and reduce the activation energy of one reaction so that the reaction can formed a required products for the cells to function. Without enzymes, the chemical reactions cannot take place and the products cannot be produced for the cells to live. The success of many cells and organisms depend their ability to make different types of enzymes that has unique size and shape for each chemical reactions. For example, the breakdown of glucose and food to essentials amino acids that is needed by the cells required enzymes to do this. Almost any chemical reaction in the cells depends on the action of an enzymes. The control of cellular respiration and ATP production, which cells need depends on enzymes. So enzymes are crucial for cell survival.

2) What type of molecules are enzymes (i.e., lipids, nucleic acids, etc)?
Explanations: There are many types of molecules that can be enzymes. Enzymes are actually proteins that catalyze a chemical reaction. So proteins are the type of molecules that are enzymes. In fact, whenever you see the word ending in "ase" such as lipase, phopholipase, hexokinase, RNases, DNases, kinase, and phosphatase. These are all enzymes because they end in the suffice "ase". The majority of the enzymes breakdown molecules. So if you wanted to know what the enzyme RNase does, it is to breakdown RNA; or what the enzyme DNase does is to breakdown DNA. The enzyme lipase job is to breakdown lipids or fatty acid. The enzyme ATPase break down ATP. Thus, the enzyme job is implied through its name and it usually act to breakdown the molecule represent its name. Not all enzymes breakdown molecules. Some enzymes can convert one protein into another. For example, in glycolysis, the enzyme hexokinase convert glucose to glucose-6 phosphatem, which ...

Solution Summary

Enzymes are critical to the functions of cells because they are proteins that catalyzed the chemical reactions, which are required in the cells. Enzymes are specific protein "catalysts" that can speed up the important chemical reactions of the cells by reducing the activation energy for a chemical reaction. (1) Enzymes can bind to their substrate molecules and reduce the activation energy of one reaction so that the reaction can formed a required products for the cells to function. Without enzymes, the chemical reactions cannot take place and the products cannot be produced for the cells to live. The success of many cells and organisms depend on their ability to make different types of enzymes that have unique sizes and shapes for each chemical reactions. Photosynthesis requires enzymes in order for plants to convert sunlight into chemical energy stored in sugar by using CO2 and water. An example of an enzyme that participate in photosynthesis in plants and respiration in animal is the ATP synthase, which is presence in every cells. ATP synthase functions is to make ATP used as energy from food. It is critical to understand the process of enzymes in living organisms because enzymes determine how the cells support life.

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