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By Carolyn D Berdanier

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DHAP picks up reducing equivalents when it is converted to α-glycerol phosphate. These reducing equivalents are produced when glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate is oxidized in the process of being phosphorylated to 1,3-diphosphate glyceraldehyde. The α-glycerophosphate enters the inner mitochondrial membrane, whereupon it is converted back to DHAP and releases its reducing equivalents to FAD, which in turn transfers the reducing equivalents to the mitochondrial respiratory chain. The reason that this shuttle is rate limiting is due to the need to regenerate NAD+ in the cytosol.

At each of these destinations, they are activated by conversion to their CoA thioesters. This activation requires ATP and the enzyme acyl CoA synthase or thiokinase. There are several thiokinases that differ with respect to their specificity for the different fatty acids. The activation step is dependent on the release of energy from two high-energy phosphate bonds. ATP is hydrolyzed to AMP and 2 molecules of inorganic phosphate. 16 shows the initial steps in the oxidation of fatty acids. 17). This is a family of enzymes that catalyze the exchange of carnitine for coenzyme A in the fatty acyl CoA.

A rapid influx of ADP into the mitochondrial compartment is what is needed to ensure a rapid respiratory rate. For example, the working muscle uses the energy provided by the hydrolysis of ATP and creatine phosphate. Creatine phosphate is split to creatine and a phosphate group, and ATP is hydrolyzed to ADP and Pi. The ADP travels into the mitochondria and stimulates respiration and is used to resynthesize ATP. ATP SYNTHESIS As electrons pass down the respiratory chain, ATP is synthesized. The sequential reactions of the respiratory chain generate an electrochemical gradient of H+ ions across the inner mitochondrial membrane.

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