Download Principles of Biochemistry 4th Edition by Albert L. Lehninger PDF

By Albert L. Lehninger

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From a table of experimentally determined values of either Keq or ⌬GЊ, we can see at a glance which reactions tend to go to completion and which do not. One caution about the interpretation of ⌬GЊ: thermodynamic constants such as this show where the final equilibrium for a reaction lies but tell us nothing about how fast that equilibrium will be achieved. The rates of reactions are governed by the parameters of kinetics, a topic we consider in detail in Chapter 6. Enzymes Promote Sequences of Chemical Reactions All biological macromolecules are much less thermodynamically stable than their monomeric subunits, yet they are kinetically stable: their uncatalyzed breakdown occurs so slowly (over years rather than seconds) that, on a time scale that matters for the organism, these molecules are stable.

According to this scenario (Fig. 1–34), one of the earliest stages of biological evolution was the chance formation, in the primordial soup, of an RNA molecule that could catalyze the formation of other RNA molecules of the same sequence—a self-replicating, self-perpetuating RNA. The concentration of a self-replicating RNA molecule would increase exponentially, as one molecule formed two, two formed four, and so on. The fidelity of self-replication was presumably less than perfect, so the process would generate variants of the RNA, some of which might be even better able to self-replicate.

According to this scenario (Fig. 1–34), one of the earliest stages of biological evolution was the chance formation, in the primordial soup, of an RNA molecule that could catalyze the formation of other RNA molecules of the same sequence—a self-replicating, self-perpetuating RNA. The concentration of a self-replicating RNA molecule would increase exponentially, as one molecule formed two, two formed four, and so on. The fidelity of self-replication was presumably less than perfect, so the process would generate variants of the RNA, some of which might be even better able to self-replicate.

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