Amino Acids Degradation

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and therefore are a major component of our body. Those amino acids that are not needed as building blocks or that are damaged, need to undergo amino acid degradation and be recycled. An amino acid consists of the amino group on the left, carboxylic acid group on the right and an R group that determines the identity of the amino acid. The primary purpose of the series of reactions described below is to take off the amino group from the amino acid so that its carbon skeleton can be used. In the first step the amino group is transferred from the amino acid to alpha keto acid (alphaketoglutarate). This reaction is catalyzed by the enzymes called am

How do we know if the reaction is spontaneous?

What does it mean for a reaction to be spontaneous? It means that the reaction will occur on its own, without any outside energy input needed. It does not mean that this will happen fast. In fact, it could take hundreds of years for a spontaneous reaction to occur. The way to predict spontaneity is by calculation Gibbs Free Energy or deltaG. When deltaG is negative that means the reaction is spontaneous, and positive means nonsponatenous. Let's note that when a reaction is spontaneous in one direction, it will be nonspontaneous in the opposite direction. To calculate delta G, we can use the formula: deltaG = deltaH- T deltaS, where delta H is enthalpy and delta S is entropy. Other ways to pr