• @AlchemicalAgent
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    21 year ago

    I know this is an old post, but it’s extremely cool.

    • SalamanderOPMA
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      1 year ago

      ATP is so interesting that it could have a whole community dedicated to it!

      During middle school and high school in biology classes ATP would be referred to as the “energy currency of the cell”, but at that time the concept of ‘energy’ was still so abstract to me. And I think it was the same for my teachers too, because whenever I tried to ask them what it actually meant that ATP had ‘energy’ in it they were also unable to provide me a concrete response. Best case scenario they would explain that energy is the ability to do work, but I was never given a more specific molecular-level description of what it meant.

      It wasn’t until the second or third year of biochem in college that it finally clicked. And it is thanks to this kind of work, in which the precise mechanical details of how the hydrolysis of ATP or the phosphorylation of ADP is coupled to the structural dynamics of a protein. With this type of work I could finally follow the microscopic steps that are responsible for these “energy” conversions, and to finally associate each individual step to the “energy change” that can be calculated using electrodynamics and quantum theory. I would put an understanding of “how ATP is the energy currency of the cell” on the list of my favorite fundamental concepts.

      I don’t blame my teachers for not being able to explain this concept, though, because when they studied these topics they did not have access to the trove of structural information, images, and literature that we have today!

      • @AlchemicalAgent
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        21 year ago

        Well said. I usually don’t get farther with my students than the 3D models of enzymes changing shape and the reactions involving Pi. That’s just the reality of non-grad level classes. But it’s one of those things you can follow down the rabbit hole very easily.

        • SalamanderOPMA
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          11 year ago

          There are good reasons for that. I think that to understand the details the students really have to have built a strong foundation… If a teacher would have managed to explain it to me in high school, It probably would have gone over my head. Now it looks easy, but it took me a while!