University Chemistry ›› 2019, Vol. 34 ›› Issue (5): 80-87.doi: 10.3866/PKU.DXHX201808004

• Between Teacher and Student • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Discussion on the Biochemical Similarity in Metabolic Principles Based on Leucine Biosynthesis Pathway

Zhenxiong JIANG1,Peng WANG2,Xinyu MA3,Jie TIAN1,Jun ZHANG5,Hanjie JIANG4,Jinhui SHI6,Zhipeng A. WANG1,3,4,*()   

  1. 1 Department of Biology, Texas A & M University, College Station, TX 77840, USA
    2 Department of Burn Surgery, First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou 510080, P. R. China
    3 Department of Chemistry, Texas A & M University, College Station, TX 77840, USA
    4 Division of Genetics, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular, Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA
    5 Center for Teacher Education Research, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, P. R. China
    6 College of Water Resources & Civil Engineering, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100083, P. R. China
  • Received:2018-08-02 Accepted:2019-01-02 Published:2019-01-11
  • Contact: Zhipeng A. WANG


A deep insight into the diverse metabolic pathways gives us the possibility to find the similarities among those processes. This manuscript provides a new paradigm for chemical education using leucine metabolism as the example. Referring concepts from other disciplines, we generalized and summarized the chemical principles involved in the biological metabolisms. Further, patterns and causation behind the predominance of specific metabolic processes were explored through the comparison among homologous enzymes in different pathways to ascertain their evolutionary similarity. This comparison and contrast are intended to help students in summarizing general principles between distinct metabolic pathways, deepening their understanding towards involved metabolic pathways, and preventing the misconception over so-called "chaotic" biochemical metabolic processes. As an attempt of reform in basic biochemistry and bioengineering curricula upon the topic of metabolism, we hope the manuscript can promote students' sense of intrigue, wonder, and curiosity.

Key words: Leucine, Tricarboxylic acid cycle, Anabolism


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