Foundations of modern biochemistry by Margery G. Ord and Lloyd A. Stocken (Eds.)

By Margery G. Ord and Lloyd A. Stocken (Eds.)

V. 1. Early adventures in biochemistry -- v. 2. Quantum leaps in biochemistry -- v. three. extra milestones in biochemistry -- v. four. extra landmarks in biochemistry

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The glycolytic route was the first biochemical pathway to be established; all its enzymes have been sequenced and many of their three-dimensional structures determined, as well as mechanisms whereby the enzymes catalyze the different reactions. Identification of the sugar phosphate esters involved in the pathways led directly to the discovery of phosphocreatine, ATP and the realization of the importance of ATP as the energy currency of cells (Lipmann,1941). Two other features associated with glycolysis will be considered.

Like steroids, the vitamin is thought to affect gene transcription. Another fat-soluble vitamin, E, was found by Evans and Bishop in 1923. Pregnant rats on a defined diet (alcohol-extracted casein, cornstarch, and lard) supplemented with butter (vitamins A and D) and yeast extract (vitamin B group) produced few young because of fetal resorption. Male rats on the same diet were sterile. The disorders, which have not been identified in man, were corrected by wheat-germ oil, from which tocopherol, the active ingredient, was isolated in 1936.

Auxotrophic mutants were produced with nutrient dependencies not shown in the untreated parental strains (Beadle and Tatum,1940). The fortuitous discovery of penicillin by Fleming and its successful use in the treatment of infections (Florey) promoted exhaustive research into its mode of action. Eventually it was established that penicillin prevented the proliferation of gram-positive bacteria by blocking the synthesis of their cell walls 38 / Early Adventures in Biochemistry (Park, 1965; Strominger, 1965).

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