Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I'm not a doctor, but I play one on TV

Right now, I would trade just about anything to be really, really good at organic chemistry.  This was not a success area earlier in my life.  Or it might have been that I was too lazy to try to really grasp it.  I was good at chemistry when I was in high school, and I really, really liked it.  Why did I like literature more?  Why did I care about poetry?  If I understood organic chemistry right now, that would really help me so much more.

But, organic chemistry: enzymes and coenzymes, factors and cofactors, metabolic stuff, little capital letters connected by fine lines in various crystal-type patterns.  Words that end in "-ine" of which there are a lot in organic chemistry.  If I could just sort out that stuff, if I could just understand such things as: 

"Once SAM donates a methyl group it becomes S-adenosyl homocysteine, which is metabolized to homocysteine. Homocysteine can be converted to methionine in a reaction that requires methyl tetrahydrofolate (THF) and a vitamin B12-dependent enzyme. Alternately, betaine (a metabolite of choline) may be used as the methyl donor for the conversion of homocysteine to methionine."

Or:

"Biotin is covalently bound to these enzymes. Under normal conditions it undergoes proteolytic metabolism to biocytin or biotinyl peptides. Cleavage of these breakdown products results in restoration of free biotin for continued cofactor functioning. Biotinidase affects this cleavage and its absence or deficiency impairs this step causing a deficiency of free biotin and slowing the functioning of the biotin-dependent carboxylases. The carboxylases serve important roles in intermediary metabolism and impairment causes abnormalities in fatty acid synthesis, amino acid catabolism, and gluconeogenesis."

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