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Thread: Mitochondria - how do they produce/use energy?

  1. #1 Mitochondria - how do they produce/use energy? 
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    Hi all - I know this is more of a question for Biology but I am looking for a Chemists' view on how Mitochondria produce energy.

    It has been explained to me that Mitochondria produce energy by combining glucose with oxygen. Now I speculate that the process of fusion will produce heat and many smaller particles as a result such as electrons which will 'leak' out of the reaction and help the vibration of the surrounding atoms (increasing the heat level).

    However - what happens to the resultant particle (the combination of glucose and oxygen) and how exactly does that deliver energy to aim the movement of a muscle? It cannot simply be heat, can it?

    Thanks!


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    SHF
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    Quote Originally Posted by fatman57 View Post
    It cannot simply be heat, can it?
    no.

    See ATP

    Also see oxidative phosphorylation and electron transport chain


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    Quote Originally Posted by SHF View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by fatman57 View Post
    It cannot simply be heat, can it?
    no.

    See ATP

    Also see oxidative phosphorylation and electron transport chain
    Thanks. Can you help explain the mechanics of how these produce motion in simple terms?
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    If the following link is not sufficient let me know and I'll be happy to try and answer any question.

    Sliding filament model - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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    Quote Originally Posted by SHF View Post
    If the following link is not sufficient let me know and I'll be happy to try and answer any question.

    Sliding filament model - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Thanks you have been a real help! I had a quick read but will digest it all later tomorrow (it is getting late in my part of the world!).

    From my quick read - is the binding of myosin acting as a signal to extend the 'extensible region' or is it forming part of the movement by its physical presence (if that last bit makes sense - like adding to the structure by building a bridge)?
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    We get most of our ATP from the proton gradient between the mitochondrial membranes. ATP synthase uses the high H+ concentration outside the inner membrane to produce ATP by allowing protons through its channel, after which they are accepted by Oxygen. Basically, the movement of those protons through ATP synthase protein acts as a mechanical nanoturbine to power ATP production.

    The real energy production comes from the binding of an additional phosphate to the ADP molecule. This exergonic rxn releases energy to endergonic rxns like muscle movement and allows us to power our bodies.

    When you catalyze the process of ATP hydrolysis you get: ATP + H2O → ADP + Pi
    ΔG˚ = −30.5 kJ/mol (−7.3 kcal/mol)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    We get most of our ATP from the proton gradient between the mitochondrial membranes. ATP synthase uses the high H+ concentration outside the inner membrane to produce ATP by allowing protons through its channel, after which they are accepted by Oxygen. Basically, the movement of those protons through ATP synthase protein acts as a mechanical nanoturbine to power ATP production.

    The real energy production comes from the binding of an additional phosphate to the ADP molecule. This exergonic rxn releases energy to endergonic rxns like muscle movement and allows us to power our bodies.

    When you catalyze the process of ATP hydrolysis you get: ATP + H2O → ADP + Pi
    ΔG˚ = −30.5 kJ/mol (−7.3 kcal/mol)
    Thanks - silly question but what form does the energy take? I can say energy but I was wondering how it produces action...say in an internal combustion engine it is a process of fusion that releases heat energy, the higher vibration state (heat) of the atoms increases pressure which acts on the piston.

    In Biology I can understand how the heat works but other than that it only looks like signalling, I study IT so can relate to that and could see a physical structure being told to extend by a signal but cannot see how the action is powered exactly...
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    Well, there are different forms of energy. You have potential energy stored in the bonds of molecules, the breaking of which can lead to other chemical reactions. For instance, plants store energy in carbon rings which can later be broken down to produce the components of the Calvin cycle. You can also have heat energy, which we obviously need to survive. Much of that is made in our brown fat cells.

    I don't know if you're refering to a specific process, but the chemical interactions within the cells drive other chemical reactions with the help of catalyzing enzymes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    Well, there are different forms of energy. You have potential energy stored in the bonds of molecules, the breaking of which can lead to other chemical reactions. For instance, plants store energy in carbon rings which can later be broken down to produce the components of the Calvin cycle. You can also have heat energy, which we obviously need to survive. Much of that is made in our brown fat cells.

    I don't know if you're refering to a specific process, but the chemical interactions within the cells drive other chemical reactions with the help of catalyzing enzymes.
    I guess I am getting confused on the mechanics behind for example how muscles move - in a car it is a pressure difference but in Biology it seems to be more of a signal (binding of myosin for example) rather than something mechanical like the things we make which mostly use pressure differences or potential difference (which either way in a layman's terms is a difference in the amount of matter between two sides).
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    It is still mechanical. Actin filaments in the cellular cytoskeleton react to ATP and create muscle movement (among other things). However, cellular biology is a fairly complicated subject and I'm not an expert so I may not be able to answer in too much detail.
    "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." -Calvin
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