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

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1answer
528 views

How does temperature influence the rate of protein degradation?

For computer modeling purposes, I am looking for some referenced quantitative measurements of the effect(s) of temperature on biochemical reactions. Question In particular, my question is: How does ...
65
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4answers
10k views

Why 22 amino acids instead of 64?

This question got me thinking about amino acids and the ambiguity in the genetic code. With 4 nucleotides in RNA and 3 per codon, there are 64 codons. However, these 64 codons only code for 22 (...
79
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4answers
63k views

Why is uracil used in RNA rather than thymine?

What is the advantage gained by the substitution of thymine with uracil? I have read previously that it is due to thymine being "better protected" and therefore more suited to the storage role of DNA,...
56
votes
4answers
50k views

Death because of distilled water consumption

One of my friends said that I would die if I drank distilled water (we were using it in a chemistry experiment) I gave it a go and surprisingly did not die. I did a bit of Googling and found this ...
7
votes
1answer
180 views

How do tea, coffee, and beer dehydrate you?

For the long time I am trying to find out if the following is truth: They say that some beverages dehydrates. I heard that about tea (sometimes green, sometimes black, sometimes both), coffee, beer ...
39
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3answers
2k views

Can scientists create totally synthetic life?

This particular question has been of a great deal of interest to me, especially since it dives at the heart of abiogenesis.
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1answer
3k views

Why does hair turn grey or white, and why does it happen later for some?

The question is pretty simple: what is happening molecularly when hair turns grey or white? I would imagine that it is due to the lack of a particular compound. I'm also interested in why some people'...
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4answers
3k views

What implications has the missing 2'-OH on the capability of DNA to form 3D structures?

The chemical difference between RNA and DNA is the missing 2'-hydroxyl group in the nucleotides that build DNA. The major effect of that change that I know of is the higher stability of DNA compared ...
6
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1answer
392 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). ...
5
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1answer
83 views

Can difference in the expression potential of alleles lead to dominance?

Several hour ago I was in thoughts what allele dominance really means on molecular level. As we know from basic genetics, if the organism had Aa type of some gene ...
3
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1answer
93 views

Domains in cell membrane

How is movement of proteins and lipids between different domains of cell membrane prevented? Why is the noncytosolic layer not able to do lateral movements between domains but cytosolic layer is able ...
3
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2answers
5k views

Is there a difference between polarity and hydrophobicity?

From literature the two terms seem to be interchangeable when discussing protein domains and motifs. But biochemically, what are the specific differences between these two terms? For example what is ...
3
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2answers
241 views

Which hydroxyl from either the phosphate or the glycerol is taken during synthesis of a phospholipid head?

The oxygen anion in the phosphate group is likely to be bonded with a hydrogen cation and thus forming a hydroxyl. When the phosphate group is condensed with glycerol to make a phospholipid, is the ...
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1answer
104 views

Influence of temperature on protein binding and decay rates

For computer modeling purposes, I am looking for some referenced quantitative measurements of the effect(s) of temperature on the dynamic of biochemical reactions. Question In particular, my ...
13
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1answer
16k views

Why is ATP the preferred choice for energy carriers?

Why is ATP the most prevalent form of chemical energy storage and utilization in most cells?
11
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3answers
430 views

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

When food is scarce, the body slows its metabolic rate to conserve energy. Are there any other systems or processes that prioritize which organs receive nutrients?
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2answers
177 views

What role does a protein's size have on protein-protein interactions?

Protein-protein interactions are when two or more proteins bind together, possibly for some important biological function. Recently, I'm starting to look more into proteins, and in particular, ...
9
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1answer
781 views

Does DNA react in all of the ways most other acids do?

As I understand it from my basic chemistry, there are some fundamental reactions that exist between any acid and other substances for example acid-base reactions that form a salt, and the existence of ...
6
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3answers
3k views

Histidine aromaticity

I understand that the imidazole ring in histidine is aromatic. I also realize that it retains it's aromaticity when protonated. I am wondering why it is not mentioned at all in basic text books such ...
6
votes
1answer
431 views

What is the molecular basis of hangovers?

Well, most of us have experienced the wonderful feeling of the dreaded hangover. How does it work exactly? I imagine it has something to do with dehydration but what are the underlying mechanisms? ...
8
votes
1answer
6k views

What is/are the molecular differences between HDL and LDL cholesterol?

Why exactly is HDL-cholesterol good for us and LDL-cholesterol bad for us. It has been well-established that LDL-cholesterol is associated with atherosclerosis and that HDL-cholesterol helps remove ...
5
votes
1answer
13k views

Is there a difference between NADH and NADH2?

I've been reading a lot about the oxidative dissimilation etc, and often I see different sources use NADH and NADH2 in the same reactions. One source uses NADH and another uses NADH2 in the exact same ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

How does protein denaturation work?

I was wondering how protein denaturation works. Are there covalent bonds, such as disulfide bridges involved, or is it based purely on non-covalent bonds such as hydrogen bonds? Why is denaturation ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

What causes humans to be sleepy?

Is there a hormone or group of hormones that regulates when we feel sleepy late at night, or in the morning? Or is sleepiness caused by some other non-hormonal mechanism? (e.g. pure psychological, ...
4
votes
2answers
710 views

In biosynthesis of cysteine and methionine, where does the sulfur come from?

Methionine and Cysteine are the two amino acids containing sulfur. According to wikipedia, cysteine is built from methionine. However, the wikipedia also claims that methionine is synthesized from ...
3
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2answers
172 views

Humidity for wood rotting

If I put a piece of wood in a humid environment (basically humid air), it will start to rot. Does the humidity influence the rotting speed, and if so, what is the relation between the rotting speed ...
2
votes
1answer
149 views

Formation of ammonia from air and moisture

On extended bicycle trips I sometimes slept under a plastic sheet, which helped with mosquitoes on hot nights. But there was a noticeable build-up of ammonia which made this almost impossible for more ...
2
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1answer
1k views

Is there any advantage of having a mitochondria for aerobic respiration?

If we consider the pathway of breakdown of glucose which includes glycolysis, the citric acid cycle and the electron transport chain, all these processes takes place in some prokaryotes and ...
2
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1answer
73 views

Can drinking caffeine, alcohol and other diuretics be part of a good drinking regime?

Tea, Coffee, Beer, Coke etc… I wonder if the benefit from amount of fluid we get from them is bigger or smaller then the handicap of dehydration. In other words it is worth to drink them if we want ...
2
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1answer
70 views

Why do oncogenes show genetic dominance?

As we know that tumor suppressor gene causes cancer only when both the alleles are recessive in nature.But in case of oncogenes if only one allele is dominant it can cause cancer.Why in case of ...
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1answer
234 views

Examples of how the presence or absence 2'-hydroxyl groups influence physicochemical properties of DNA and RNA

I know, for instance, that RNA is much more succetible to alkaline hydrolysis than DNA and this difference is determined by the presence of 2'-hydroxyl group in ribose. I have also heard that "DNA is ...
1
vote
1answer
148 views

How is the rate of transcription influenced by temperature?

How is the rate of transcription influenced by temperature? More precisely, I am looking for an article who quantitatively measured the rate of transcription of an "average gene" and show how this ...
7
votes
2answers
290 views

How many ATP are formed?

What is the number of ATP molecules formed during the photosynthetic processes which consume 8 molecules of $\text{H}_2\text{O}$ due to noncyclic electron transport and subsequent photophosphorylation?...
23
votes
1answer
764 views

How, on a physical level, does ATP confer energy?

When ATP is used as the energy currency to make, say, reaction X + Y → Z happen, is what happens on a physical level down at the molecular scale that during the reaction ATP + H2O → ADP + Pi  &...
20
votes
1answer
351 views

Evolutionary origin and exogenous cues of ~28 day infradian rhythm?

The most obvious example of an approximately monthly biological cycle is the human menstrual cycle. My questions are the following: Is it known when and where this cycle or one like it arose? What ...
16
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2answers
7k views

Why is glucose our primary source of energy?

Is there any evolutionary reason for glucose being the "main" molecule used as a source of energy, beginning with glycolysis and subsequently cellular respiration (after being converted to two ...
3
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2answers
227 views

What are the physiological roles of Hydrogen sulfide?

I am thinking why hydrogen sulfide has its effects in the body. For instance, it is one Salmonella's virulence factor. I am not sure if such a balance equations holds H2O + H2S ←→ ... Actually, I ...
15
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2answers
6k views

How does a plant grow before photosynthesis is possible?

During photosynthesis, a plant translates CO2, water and light into O2. I assume the carbon C is further used for the growing process. I wonder how the plant grows before the time where photosynthesis ...
14
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4answers
11k 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?
8
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1answer
484 views

How do the pharmacodynamics of the NSAIDs differ and are there “resistant” COX phenotypes?

I know that the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g., aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen) affect the enzymes cyclooxygenase (types I and II). Is there any difference in the degree to which these ...
7
votes
1answer
378 views

Why should phospholipid non-polar tails be “protected” in the membrane bilayer?

lipids are arranged within the membrane with polar head towards the outer side and non polar tails towards inner side, this ensures that the non polar tail is protected from aqueous environment. My ...
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votes
4answers
1k views

Photosynthesis: What Powers the Splitting of Water?

The splitting of water is an endergonic (non-spontaneous) reaction, and thus would require energy (chemical work to be done) in order to happen. In Photosystem II, an enzyme catalyzes this splitting, ...
5
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1answer
156 views

enzymes that stabilize DNA loops

As a follow-up of a previous question, I would like to know what enzymes or protein complexes have been used to manipulate DNA samples into stabilizing DNA loops. I have read that cohesin is one of ...
4
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1answer
177 views

Why is ab initio protein secondary structure prediction less reliable than alternatives?

To predict secondary structure of proteins three types of Algorithms are used Ab initio, homology based and neural networks. Among these neural networks prove to be more accurate and give good results ...
2
votes
1answer
958 views

What can cause the bloating in high protein diet of Whey proteins?

I am thinking what can cause the swelling of gastrointestinal system i.e. bloating after high protein diet of Whey proteins. Liver does breaks those proteins to branched chain amino acids (BCAA), ...
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vote
1answer
38 views

Why are both glucagon and cortisol released in hypoglycemia?

Cortisol is released in response to prolonged stresses; one situation when cortisol is released is when blood glucose level is low. In this situation cortisol acts on adipose tissue promoting fatty ...
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5answers
10k views

What does the human body use oxygen for besides the final electron acceptor in the electron transport chain?

My biology teachers never explained why animals need to breathe oxygen, just that we organisms die if we don't get oxygen for too long. Maybe one of them happened to mention that its used to make ATP. ...
20
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4answers
5k views

Where does the 'C' in exhaled CO₂ mostly come from?

When a human being exhales CO₂, what is, by the numbers, the main source of carbon atoms exiting the body in this way? I mean what class of cells, or which tissues are the biggest on a pie chart of ...
19
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4answers
5k views

Why are there exactly four nucleobases in DNA?

Does someone know why DNA is composed of four nucleobases? In particular, is there an explanation for the number? Why four and not two, or eight?
11
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1answer
5k 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?