Alcoholic or Biochemaholic??? You pick!

Hey guys, peanz clocking in and im here not to fascinate u with one of my reflections but to educate you on something even more interesting. As part of the criteria for our blog we are required to do two published paper reviews. This is our second and this publish paper discusses alcohol metabolism in various ethnic groups in Trinidad and Tobago. It is very interesting guys so take a read!


Existing in Trinidad and Tobago, a multi-ethnic nation, are 2 main ethnic groups: East Indians (Indo-Trinidadians) and Africans (Afro-Trinidadians).In the 1970’s there was a sudden economic development and industrialization and following that alcohol consumption levels escalated greatly. Studies on the ethnicity and the prevalence of alcoholism in the twin island found that the ability to tolerate alcohol is higher among Indo- Trinis than Afro-Trinis. A survey done showed this with a higher percentage of Indo-Trinis had an alcohol problem compared to the Afro-Trinis. There are actually few studies that have actually investigated biological factors that would explain those results. The article shows the findings of studies done by a group of scientists who analyzed the genetic difference in alcohol metabolizing enzymes of both ethnic groups as a bias for the differences in alcohol prevalence between both groups. Surveys have shown that the primary reason for these variations occur in genes that code for enzymes which are responsible for the metabolism of alcohol. Alcohol is oxidized by alcohol dehydrogenases (ADH) to acetaldehyde, which is converted to acetate by alcohol dehydrogenase enzymes.  Alcohol may also go through a different pathway and be metabolized by microsomal ethanol oxidizing systems (MEOS). The variation in the metabolism rate is due to the different isoforms/ polymorphisms of the enzymes that catalyze the metabolism of alcohol. The more active forms break down the alcohol faster whereas the less active forms allow for a buildup of acetaldehyde since there is a slower oxidation rate. Studies show that there is a difference of alleles that code for ADH between the ethnicities Indo Trinidadian and Afro- Trinidadian. It also relates that the indo-Trinidadian alcohol dependence is caused by the presence of the allele ADH1C*2 hence the stereotype that their ethnic group is well known for “Heavy drinking” and the reason they can consume more alcohol is primarily because they have a allele ADH1C*1 that gives them a protective effect. However as it pertains to afro-Trinidadians they possess an allele ADH1B*3 that protects them from becoming alcohol dependent hence less associated with liver disease. There is also another analysis that shows the presence of ALDH1A1*2 are associated with alcohol dependence in the East Indians. There is also mention of the reason that East Asians aren’t able to contain their alcohol at all and this is because of the presence of ALDH2*2.

Indo-Trinis have ADH1C+ whereas afro-Trinis have ADH1B+3 and these two genes are responsible for the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase, which in turn is responsible for the reduced alcoholism. ALDH2+2 is the allele seen in East Asians, which is responsible for preventing them from developing alcoholism. This allele is not seen in the Indo and Afro- Trinis. The presence of one copy (the minimum) of a variance in the gene encoding for cystolic ALDH1A was discovered to be in association with the rise in the alcohol dependence in Indo-Trinis



YouTube Review #2 ( Enzyme Inhibitors)


Hello my biochem minions! It’s me Wendy and I’m back with my biochemaholic awesomeness that never seizes to blow your minds…just kidding (or not :p). So today I’ll be doing a YouTube video review on enzyme inhibition which is interlinked with the electron transport chain…killing two birds with one stone…how’s that for awesome? So anyway…when I stumbled upon this video and saw the title enzyme inhibitors, I thought… great let’s learn about the different types of inhibitors and such. I also thought, let’s see if this lecture’s gonna be more awesome than the one my Biochem lecturer has…but I couldn’t do that although his lecture was good because …well…Professer Fink, after I got over his name (lol), didn’t talk about the things I thought he’d talk about. I was slightly disappointed but that quickly dissipated when he began as he caught my interest not only with his numerous mention of death which reminded me of my lecturer but with what he was saying. He started by mentioning what an inhibitor is which is something that stops the enzyme from working or catalyzing a chemical reaction. He then proceeds with his first mention of death which was…if your enzymes stop working, you’re DEAD! He said it with so much enthusiast, I was moved…hahaha. He describes cyanide as being an enzyme inhibitor for the really important enzyme cytochrome oxidase, found in the mitochondria, also known as complex IV in the electron transport chain which is needed for cellular respiration. Cyanide attaches to the enzyme and stops it from working which prevents the production of ATP which then leads to death…death in 4 minutes since all your cells will be affected because mitochondria exists in all your cells. Professor Fink then goes on to talk about yet another inhibitor called arsenic, which is a poison that inhibits succinate dehydrogenase also known as complex II in the electron transport chain, yet another enzyme found in the mitochondria and also needed for cellular respiration to produce ATP. If arsenic stops succinate dehydrogenase from working…you’re DEAD! (His words, not mine…). Insecticides are also enzyme inhibitors e.g. Malathion and Parathion. These are aimed at an enzyme in the nervous system of insects called acetylcholinesterase which when inhibited causes paralysis and DEATH! Similar to those two insecticides is Sarin Nerve Gas which is aimed at humans, doing the same job as the aforementioned insecticides to the same enzyme. This Sarin Nerve Gas is used in biological warfare to kill a hella lot of people (how sad). Antibiotics are inhibitors which target enzymes of bacteria, successfully killing them without harming the human since it’s directed at the bacterial enzymes which don’t exist in humans. That was pretty much what Professor Fink talked about and it was pretty cool and interesting, though in my opinion he should’ve stated what type of inhibitors they were…oh well…I guess that’s why Google exists…heh heh heh…homework for me or us if any of you decide to watch this video which I think that you should cause it was awesome…and c’mon…who doesn’t want to know how you can die on a cellular basis? :p

Another Adventure with…Coonzify!!!!

Howdy y’all. Coonzify here. After that protein experience I started noticing things. Things never thought of. New discoveries everywhere. This world is so amazing. Biochemistry is so fun!!!! So here I am chilling with my puppy, Kenny.                                                               Image

He’s such a fun and playful, and full of life kind of puppy… he actually reminds me of J. Oh sorry you may be wondering who is that. He is my friend I met while battling Proteogon. Proteogon…I must keep on the quest of finding out all I can. I won’t want to anger other Macromolecular bests like him. I sat there in deep thought.

Kenny!!!! Come on stop putting your nose in my face. I laughed…but…. then it hit me…his nose…what was it made of…hehehe I sounded mad I knew it. But in school I had learned of organs being made of tissues which are made up of cells. Cells… oh I remember earlier in our blog Domzz showed off her skills of her knowledge on cells.


In cells there are organelles called the nucleus, mitochondria and chloroplast. Here there are DNA and RNA which all help in protein synthesis. DNA and RNA are made from nucleotides.

Nucleotides consist of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen and phosphorus molecules.


This diagram shows the main components of nucleotides. There two types of bases, pyrimidines and purines. Pyrimidines can either be a uracil (only seen in RNA), thymine (found in DNA only) and cytosine. Purines can be either adenine or guanine. Purines and Pyrimidines pair up to form base pairs by hydrogen bonding. Only adenine and thymine (or uracil in the case of RNA) can be paired since they both have 2 complimentary hydrogen bonds. Cytosine and guanine bond at their 3 complimentary bonding sites. Nucleotides make up the genetic material called RNA and DNA.

Wow puppy I found out a lot with the help of your nose lol…thanks boy…let’s go give you a walk.



Gschmeissner S. Accessed 3rd April 2014.


It’s QUIZ Time AgAiN !!!!!!! (Keep calm .. yew can do this)

1.Triose phosphate isomerase is…

A) kenetically energetic enzymes

B) an enzyme that converts glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate to DHAP

C) splits fructose 1,6 bisphosphate

D) none of the above

2.Which reaction releases the most ATP

A) substrate level phosphorylation

B) oxidative phosphorylation

C) Photo phosphorylation

D) energy generation phase

3.Which enzyme is used to catalyze the first rxn in glycolysis

a) catalase

b) phosphoglucose isomeras

c) lysine

d) hexokinase

e) lipase

4.How many reversible and non-reversible enzyme catalyzed reactions are there in glycolysis?

a) 5 each

b) none

c) 7 reversible and 3 non reversible

d) 3 reversible and 7 non reversible

e) 6 reversible and 4 non reversible.

5. What enzyme deficiency causes hemolytic anemia?

a. hexokinase

b. enolase

c. phospho-fructokinase-1

d. pyruvate kinase

e. aldolase


6. Which of the following enzyme reactions are reversible?

i. Glucose —————> Glucose 6-phosphate

ii.3-phosphoglycerate————-> 2-phosphoglycerate

iii. phosphoenolpyruvate———-> pyruvate

iv.1, 3- Bisphophoglycerate———–> 3-phosphoglycerate

a.i only

b.ii and iv

c.iii and iv

d.i and ii

e.all of the above

7. All of the following are enzymes of reversible reactions except ____________.


(a)        Enolase

(b)        Aldolase

(c)        Pyruvate kinase

(d)       Phosphohexose isomerase

(e)        Phosphoglycerate kinase

8. What is the product? Fructose 1, 6-bisphosphate <—–aldolase———–>


(a) Glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate + dihydroxyacetone phosphate

(b) Glucose + glucose 6- phosphate

(c) Pyruvate+ phosphoenolpyruvate

(d) 2 glyceraldehyde

(e)        3-phosphoglycerate + 2 phosphoglycerate

9. The process of glycolysis can be referred to as the following features except

a. Universal
b. First metabolic pathway to be elucidated
c. Containing 8 enzyme reactions
d. Net gain of 2 ATP molecules
e. 2 pyruvate molecules being the end product

10. The most regulated enzyme in glycolysis is known to be

a. Aldolase
b. Hexokinase
c. Triose phosphate isomerase
d. Enolase



LIPIDS…Lets get the fats down!!…(I meant facts ;) )







Hey Everyone, Peanz here and im actually very anxious to be blogging on life’s greatest misery!… Lipids!-Trans fat!…I want to know it all and I want to share it with you guys as well. Get your brains ready, here we go!

Molecules that contain hydrocarbons, are not soluble in water, can be extracted  from plants and animals and makes up the building blocks of the structure and function of living cells are referred to as lipids. (Mandal, Ananya,2012). What we know as fats , oils, waxes and even hormones are all examples of lipids.

Lipids can be broken down into some common classes; fatty acids, triacylglycerol, phospholipids, steroids (yes steroids) and glycolipids.

Fats and oils fall under the fatty acids.

Fats contain saturated hydrocarbon chains while oils contain unsaturated hydrocarbon chains. What we are going to focus on for this blog is Trans-fat which also falls under the fatty acids class.

Trans fat has been a huge issue in the health industry because it has been known to increase the risk of coronary heart disease which is the leading cause of death in the U.S.A.

But what really is Tran-fat?


Easy there buddy let me help you out…

The reason for stating that fats contain saturated hydrocarbon chains and oils unsaturated is because it would help in explain how trans fats are created. Stating that fats are saturated means that fats contain no double bonds and unsaturated means that they do contain double bonds. We should know (should but do we??) is that C=C bonds could either be cis or trans which explains the position of the double bond. (chemistry :s) Naturally occurring fatty acids are normally in the cis configuration as opposed to trans. To create trans fats, manufacturers take liquid cis unsaturated fats and add hydrogen to it to make it more soluble. This process is known as hydrogenation.


Why Create Trans-Fats?

Manufacturers create trans fat because they consider it to be more profitable since it has many desirable physical properties.

  1. It melts at a necessary temperature
  2. It is inexpensive
  3. It increases food’s shelf life
  4. It increases food’s stability
  5. It increases food’s texture


Where can we find Trans fat?

Some trans fats maybe found in the fatty parts of meat and in dairy products like milk. The trans fats found in these products are considered naturally occurring trans fats but they are only found in small amounts.

Artificially made trans fat however can be found in a variety of processed foods including fried foods such as fries, hamburgers, chicken, nuggets, savoury foods such as microwave popcorn, cakes, cookies, pizzas, margarines, pies and even some coffee creamers.


What is the problem?

The main problem exists not in the existence and manufacture of trans fats but in the amount consumed by persons each day. In our bodies there is a substance called high density lipoprotein also known as good cholesterol. The purpose of HDL in the body is to protect the heart against diseases by removing excess cholesterol. Trans fat decreases the levels of HDL in the body and increases the levels of low density lipoprotein which is also referred to as bad cholesterol, making one prone to having heart attacks and suffering from other heart diseases.

Warning: Health advisors do not expect us to remove trans fats completely from our diet but urge us to reduce the amounts of trans fat we do consume. We all want to live longer!! So lets eat healthier!


Hope You enjoyed guys…until next time…Peanz!


DA DA DUNNN…..another message from ProTEgOn!! Published paper review #1

Ciryam, Prajwal, Gian Gaetano Tartaglia, Richard I. Morimoto, Christopher M. Dobson, and Michele Vendruscolo. “Widespread Aggregation and Neurodegenerative Diseases Are Associated with Supersaturated Proteins.” Cell Reports 5, no. 3 (2013): 781-790. Accessed 27 March 2014.

Hey, 🙂 Coonzify here on a lighter tone. Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s …one usually think of one of those lifetime movies where the head of the home usually gets THE disease, the dreaded mind deteriorating disasters causing lots of pain and hurt. One never really gets the gravity of the situation till it hits home… Today I found an interesting piece, which I thought I would share with you guys.

The article tries to give evidence to prove that the common causes in explanations of neurodegenerative diseases are aggregation of proteins. In their quest to figure out why only some proteins stood at risk of aggregation under stress, they tested protein solubility. The affects of folded and unfolded proteins were also taken into consideration. Proteins that are predisposed to aggregation and misfolding are supersaturated and may result in diseases. They tend to be insoluble because of their usually folded structure, which are prevented from forming intramolecular interactions. Newly synthesized cell proteins however have the highest concentration of unfolded proteins, thus was suggested that aggregation is common in cellular stress and aging proteins. Therefore there is a need for constant help in controlling the mechanisms for example molecular chaperones role in inhibiting alternative neurodegenerative pathways. Solubility also helps in maintaining cellular homeostasis.


Tada!!! So there is hope 🙂 C’est fantastique! This is fantastic! One would have never guessed that protein misfolding and aggregation might be the main causes of such calamity. Usually one thinks of just age as the driving force of these types of diseases, not the in-depth factor of proteins going bad. Thus there is much research being done in this field. They are mainly trying finding a way to not only properly diagnose but to find solutions to these protein-linked terrors.


Physical sciences illuminate neurodegenerative diseases.’ Accessed 31st March 2014.