The study of chemistry within the scope of biology: the compounds that occur and the reactions involving them in living organisms.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

8
votes
2answers
4k views

Why should I degas my gel solution for polyacrylamide gels?

In protocols for polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE) I often see instructions to degas the gel solution by putting it under vacuum for 10-15 minutes before polymerizing the gel. I usually ...
8
votes
3answers
443 views

What triggers meiosis in gonadal cells?

What specific biochemical processes are involved in inducing meiosis rather than mitosis? Why are gonadal cells the only cells in the human body which do undergo meiosis?
8
votes
3answers
9k views

Why can't the brain and red blood cells use fuels other than glucose?

The question is rather straight forward: I have always been curious as to why, but cannot find an explanation online. I can imagine that the mechanism is different for each, but why does brain tissue ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the concentration of ATP in an average cell?

Can someone give me some references showing the average concentration of ATP in a cell?
8
votes
1answer
207 views

What are the biochemical processes occurring when food spoils?

Let's assume for a minute that microbes themselves and their direct toxic products (i.e. endotoxins) aren't toxic to humans. Let's also discount any innate immune responses the body mounts against the ...
8
votes
1answer
90 views

What are the variables that control/influence the color of oranges(Citrus sinensis)?

I hear that Oranges cultivated in tropical areas of the world tend to be greener when ripe, is that correct? Even the same type of Orange differs in color if cultivated in California or Florida. I ...
8
votes
1answer
83 views

Why pouring salt in the wounds is painful?

Pouring salt in the wounds is so painful. I am sure you all experienced this. whats happend there?
8
votes
2answers
198 views

Solution based measurement of Solvent-Accessible Surface Area of macromolecules

The Solvent-Accessible Surface Area (SASA) is a valuable metric for looking at protein folding and protein-protein interactions. However, this measurement is typically done by calculating the SASA ...
8
votes
2answers
48 views

What are the ecological effects of moderately high and prolonged concentrations of nitrogen deposition on an ecosystem?

There are many sources of nitrogen which eventually get deposited out of the atmosphere and onto the land/surface. Typically higher levels of nitrogen compounds are emitted near urban and roadway ...
8
votes
1answer
222 views

How Antioxidants affects Human Metabolism?

I'd like to know how antioxidants affects the human metabolism and which ones are essential for metabolism processes.
8
votes
1answer
185 views

What is the maximum potential sucrose concentration of plant sap? What keeps plants below this potential?

I am interested in identifying the maximum potential dissolved sucrose (%w/w) that plant sap could have, and which (biological, physical, chemical) factors constrain the observed sucrose ...
7
votes
3answers
225 views

What alternatives are there to the amyloid hypothesis?

Given the recent failure of the Bapi clinical trial, there is a lot of questions that have arised from he amyloid hypothesis. However, I can't really think of many other mechanisms that don't involved ...
7
votes
3answers
118 views

Free Radicals for aging

From my understanding free radicals play a slight role in ageing. In what ways are they so damaging, and can a restricted diet reduce production of free radicals?
7
votes
2answers
266 views

How to compute properties of peptides ?

I have been tasked with writing a program for computing properties of a give set of peptides. These peptides are given as 1-letter amino acid sequences and I need to compute the following : Length ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

Why does Rigor Mortis occur after death?

After someone dies they become stiff, this is termed Rigor Mortis and happens because the cells run out of ATP (I think). But why do the cells need it to remain flexible?
7
votes
1answer
666 views

Does drinking coffee have negative effects?

From what I collected, coffee is a magical potion that lets you feel energetic, and essentially not-sleepy. But are there any tradeoffs? I mean, if it was so beneficial, wouldn't the human body ...
7
votes
1answer
227 views

When giving blood, what is the specific Iron measurement they take?

I went to give blood the other day, and they take an "iron" measurement prior to actually drawing the blood. My level was 16.4 -- but what specific type of iron were they measuring? I've heard of ...
7
votes
2answers
953 views

why is AUG the initiation codon?

Is there any reason why AUG is the initiation codon ? Why is there a need for an initiation codon ? Can't translation start with different codons?
7
votes
1answer
145 views

What makes a wet dog so stinky?

Similarly, what makes a wet down comforter so stinky? Why do they make no smell except when liquid is added?
7
votes
1answer
4k views

Why does RNA adopt an A-form helix?

RNA is known to form an A-form helix, while DNA generally forms a B-form helix under physiological conditions. From left to right: A-form DNA, B-form DNA, Z-form DNA. Image created by Richard ...
7
votes
2answers
312 views

Can a living organism run on electricity?

Each time I'm too lazy too cook I think it'd be cool to be able to just plug myselt into an outlet. Yet I know it is not possible - I need amino acids and a lot of other stuff that electricity can't ...
7
votes
2answers
226 views

Why does Hunger lead to the aggressive behavior?

I have observed that frequently when people are hungry; they tend to get angry more easily on pointless issues. Does this mean that our fight or flight response is more active when a person is hungry? ...
7
votes
2answers
751 views

Bacterial cell lysis - what solution to use?

I am trying to determine how quickly detergents act on bacterial cells (cell lysis). I would like to compare some detergents at difference concentrations for bacteriolytic activity. I don’t care about ...
7
votes
2answers
194 views

During famine, does the human body do anything to prioritize which organs receive nutrients?

When food is scarce, the body slows its metabolism. Are there any other systems or processes that encourage prioritization of organs?
7
votes
1answer
977 views

Single hormone opposite effects

Often, a smooth response to a hormone means that some processes must be sped up and others must be slowed down. How can a single hormone have opposite effects like this?
7
votes
2answers
427 views

How can I measure bacterial alkaline phosphatase activity?

I want to measure alkaline phosphatase activity using PNPP in my mutant bacteria strains, but all the protocols I found involve purification of the phosphatase (which I have no need of). Does anyone ...
7
votes
2answers
361 views

What exactly happens if during translation, an amino acid is not present?

Lets say that the cell wants to make a particular protein. Transcription of the appropriate gene is done and the mRNA is made. mRNA attaches to the ribosome and the translation is initiated in a ...
7
votes
1answer
170 views

Protein construct design

I am trying to create some constructs of a certain protein deleting well defined domains (at either terminus) to determine interaction regions with other proteins etc., 3 constructs with varying ...
7
votes
1answer
197 views

Does cooking ginger reduce its anti-nausea effect?

There seems to be strong evidence to support the hypothesis that eating ginger helps reduce nausea e.g. during pregnancy (e.g. Vutyavanich et al.). It seems that gingerol is the active ingredient in ...
7
votes
4answers
158 views

How can I produce milligram quantities of an isotope-labeled DNA oligomer?

I'd like to produce a specific DNA sequence on a milligram-scale and 13C15N-label it. The sequence is around 35 nucleotides long, so chemical synthesis is out due to the exorbitant costs. I'm also ...
7
votes
2answers
78 views

Should we be looking for extra-terrestrial life on comets?

I have just read What elements are a possible basis for life? and I find myself wondering whether instead of seeking advanced life-forms at remote locales a La SETI, and perhaps fundamentally ...
7
votes
1answer
132 views

Making penicillin using animals - specifically, a goat

In the scifi novel Lucifer's Hammer, one of the characters (a biologist, if I remember correctly) finds himself in a post-apocalyptic world and tries to make penicillin to save his own life. To do ...
7
votes
1answer
189 views

When collecting cell lysates for a Western blot, how do I induce di-sulfide bonds?

I would like to conduct a simple dimerization experiment for some protein I'm collecting from a cultured cells. My thought is, that if I'm running a non-reducing, denaturing PAGE gel, then removing ...
7
votes
1answer
224 views

What biological processes cause leaves to change colours in Autumn?

I am curious to learn what are the biological mechanisms that cause leaves of deciduous plants to change colour? What happens to the chlorophyll? What environmental phenomena (temperature/air ...
7
votes
1answer
118 views

Pharmacologically, can tricyclic antidepressants have a side-effect profile similar to neuroleptics?

Torticollis (wryneck, cervical dystonia) is a neurologic movement disorder causing involuntary muscle spasms in the neck. Often, neuroleptics can cause such a side effect. I'm wondering if this ...
7
votes
1answer
217 views

How do plants 'tell time' for circadian rhythms based on a ~24 cycle?

I've read that many plants have some sort of circadian rhythm where they perform a certain action on a cycle of about 24 hours, like the mimosa plant opening and closing its leaves. Obviously this is ...
7
votes
1answer
446 views

How to prevent protein precipitation?

I'm trying to label a protein with fluorescent dye (TMR succinimidyl ester), but having trouble getting the protocol to work. The protein seems to be stable in distilled water at a the recommended ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

Why we have no enzyme to digest cellulose?

As we know, cellulose is the most abundant polysaccharide in nature. Why don't we have any enzyme to digest cellulose?
6
votes
1answer
802 views

The real definition of carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are often defined as compounds with only C, H, and O and the H and usually the O atoms are in a 2:1 ratio. Exceptions like deoxyribose exist, but why is it recognized as a carbohydrate? ...
6
votes
2answers
702 views

What is the correct model for enzyme-substrate complementarity?

This Wikibook shows both proposed models of enzyme-substrate complementarity, the Lock and Key model and the Induced Fit model. I've always been taught that the Induced Fit model is the proper one. ...
6
votes
1answer
790 views

Why does the heart use lipids (and not glucose)?

Fetal hearts use glucose as their primary metabolic substrate. Adult hearts use free fatty acids, which are less efficient (require more $O_2$ to synthesize the same amount of ATP); however, during ...
6
votes
3answers
8k views

Differences Between Protein Motifs and Protein Domains?

I am in a 300-level molecular biology class and am unclear about this concept and how to delineate motifs versus domains of proteins. Any suggestions would be much obliged.
6
votes
1answer
2k views

HDL- and LDL-cholesterol

Why exactly are HDL-cholesterols good for us and LDL-cholesterols not. I know LDL-cholesterols cause Atherosclerosis and that HDL-cholesterols removes the excess of LDL-cholesterols, but from a ...
6
votes
2answers
576 views

For how long and how cold should I perform ethanol/isopropanol precipitations of RNA or DNA?

Precipitating nucleic acids using either isopropanol or ethanol is a very common operation, and I've read some very different protocols on the duration and temperature the precipitation should be ...
6
votes
1answer
164 views

Is there an enzyme for the transformation of the hydroxyl group?

I would like to know, is there any enzyme which does the transformation of hydroxyl group to any other functional group using the enzyme. The substrate is aromatic hydroxyl group. Product should not ...
6
votes
2answers
64 views

Is there a binding affinity metric for interactions not in equilibria?

I am investigating the strength of binding of a small peptide to a protein by isolating the bound version and subjecting it to collisions with gas molecules (CID mass spectrometry) to dissociate the ...
6
votes
1answer
140 views

What exactly makes bananas go brown?

I know that often oxidation processes are mentioned when referring to the color change from yellow to brown in bananas (specifically: those that you get everywhere in supermarkets, with no seeds). ...
6
votes
1answer
322 views

Are the cytosol and extracellular fluids electrically neutral?

I've found several sources that state that overall, the cytosol of a cell is electrically neutral. The extracellular fluid is also purportedly electrically neutral. How can that be when we have ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Why is fructose not glucose the main energy source of sperm?

The seminal fluid contains fructose as the main energy source for the sperm and not glucose. Why is fructose and not glucose the primary energy source for these sperm, since glucose is the ...
6
votes
1answer
115 views

Why does getting certain chemicals in cuts hurt?

More specifically, shampoo. What are the mechanics of detecting a noxious chemical stimulus in terms of which receptors recognise what, how do they do it, and how is this information relayed to the ...