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In
biochemistry Biochemistry or biological chemistry is the study of chemical processes within and relating to living organisms. A sub-discipline of both chemistry and biology, biochemistry may be divided into three fields: structural biology, enzymology a ...

biochemistry
, a metabolite is an intermediate or end product of
metabolism Metabolism (, from el, μεταβολή ''metabolē'', "change") is the set of life-sustaining chemical reactions in organisms. The three main functions of metabolism are: the conversion of the energy in food to energy available to run cell ...

metabolism
. The term is usually used for
small molecule Within the fields of molecular biology and pharmacology, a small molecule or micromolecule is a low molecular weight (≤ 1000 Atomic mass unit, daltons) organic compound that may regulate a biological process, with a size on the order of 1 nm ...
s. Metabolites have various functions, including fuel, structure, signaling, stimulatory and inhibitory effects on
enzyme Enzymes () are proteins that act as biological catalysts by accelerating chemical reactions. The molecules upon which enzymes may act are called substrate (chemistry), substrates, and the enzyme converts the substrates into different molecule ...

enzyme
s, catalytic activity of their own (usually as a cofactor to an enzyme), defense, and interactions with other organisms (e.g.
pigments A pigment is a colored material that is completely or nearly insoluble in water. In contrast, dyes are typically soluble, at least at some stage in their use. Generally dyes are often organic compound In chemistry, organic compounds are gene ...
,
odorant An aroma compound, also known as an odorant, aroma, fragrance or flavoring, is a chemical compound that has a smell or odor. For an individual chemical or class of chemical compounds to impart a smell or fragrance, it must be sufficiently Vola ...
s, and
pheromone A pheromone () is a secreted or excreted chemical factor that triggers a social response in members of the same species. Pheromones are chemicals capable of acting like hormones outside the body of the secreting individual, to affect the behavio ...

pheromone
s). A
primary metabolite A primary metabolite is a kind of metabolite In biochemistry, a metabolite is an intermediate or end product of metabolism. The term is usually used for small molecules. Metabolites have various functions, including fuel, structure, signaling, st ...
is directly involved in normal "growth", development, and reproduction.
Ethylene Ethylene (IUPAC name: ethene) is a hydrocarbon which has the formula or . It is a colourless, flammable gas with a faint "sweet and musky" odour when pure. It is the simplest alkene (a hydrocarbon with carbon–carbon bond, carbon-carbon double ...

Ethylene
exemplifies a primary metabolite produced large-scale by industrial microbiology. A
secondary metabolite Secondary metabolites, also called specialised metabolites, toxins, secondary products, or natural products, are organic compounds produced by any lifeform, e.g. bacteria, fungi, animals, or plants, which are not directly involved in the norma ...
is not directly involved in those processes, but usually has an important
ecological Ecology () is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their biophysical environment, physical environment. Ecology considers organisms at the individual, population, community (ecology), community, ecosy ...
function. Examples include
antibiotics An antibiotic is a type of antimicrobial substance active against bacteria. It is the most important type of antibacterial agent for fighting pathogenic bacteria, bacterial infections, and antibiotic medications are widely used in the therapy, ...
and
pigment A pigment is a colored material that is completely or nearly Solubility, insoluble in water. In contrast, dyes are typically soluble, at least at some stage in their use. Generally dyes are often organic compounds whereas pigments are often inorg ...
s such as resins and terpenes etc. Some antibiotics use primary metabolites as precursors, such as
actinomycin
actinomycin
, which is created from the primary metabolite
tryptophan Tryptophan (symbol Trp or W) is an α-amino acid that is used in the biosynthesis of proteins. Tryptophan contains an Alpha_and_beta_carbon , α-amino group, an α-carboxylic acid group, and a side chain indole, making it a polar molecule with ...

tryptophan
. Some
sugars Sugar is the generic name for Sweetness, sweet-tasting, soluble carbohydrates, many of which are used in food. Simple sugars, also called monosaccharides, include glucose, fructose, and galactose. Compound sugars, also called disaccharides o ...
are metabolites, such as
fructose Fructose, or fruit sugar, is a ketonic simple sugar found in many plants, where it is often bonded to glucose to form the disaccharide sucrose. It is one of the three dietary monosaccharides, along with glucose and galactose, that are absorbe ...

fructose
or
glucose Glucose is a simple sugar with the Chemical formula#Molecular formula, molecular formula . Glucose is overall the most abundant monosaccharide, a subcategory of carbohydrates. Glucose is mainly made by plants and most algae during photosynthesis f ...

glucose
, which are both present in the
metabolic pathways In biochemistry, a metabolic pathway is a linked series of chemical reactions occurring within a cell (biology), cell. The reactants, products, and intermediates of an enzymatic reaction are known as metabolites, which are modified by a sequence ...

metabolic pathways
. Examples of primary metabolites produced by industrial microbiology include: The
metabolome The metabolome refers to the complete set of small-molecule chemicals found within a biological sample. The biological sample can be a cell, a cellular organelle In cell biology, an organelle is a specialized subunit, usually within a cell (b ...
forms a large network of metabolic reactions, where outputs from one enzymatic
chemical reaction A chemical reaction is a process that leads to the IUPAC nomenclature for organic transformations, chemical transformation of one set of chemical substances to another. Classically, chemical reactions encompass changes that only involve the pos ...

chemical reaction
are inputs to other chemical reactions. Metabolites from
chemical compound A chemical compound is a chemical substance composed of many identical molecules (or molecular entity, molecular entities) containing atoms from more than one chemical element held together by chemical bonds. A homonuclear molecule, molecule co ...
s, whether inherent or
pharmaceutical A medication (also called medicament, medicine, pharmaceutical drug, medicinal drug or simply drug) is a drug used to medical diagnosis, diagnose, cure, treat, or preventive medicine, prevent disease. Drug therapy (pharmacotherapy) is an imp ...
, form as part of the natural biochemical process of degrading and eliminating the compounds. The rate of degradation of a compound is an important determinant of the duration and intensity of its action. Understanding how pharmaceutical compounds are
metabolized Metabolism (, from el, μεταβολή ''metabolē'', "change") is the set of life-sustaining chemical reactions in organisms. The three main functions of metabolism are: the conversion of the energy in food to energy available to run cell ...
and the potential
side effects In medicine, a side effect is an effect, whether therapeutic or adverse, that is secondary to the one intended; although the term is predominantly employed to describe adverse effects, it can also apply to beneficial, but unintended, consequence ...
of their metabolites is an important part of
drug discovery In the fields of medicine, biotechnology and pharmacology, drug discovery is the process by which new candidate pharmaceutical drug, medications are discovered. Historically, drugs were discovered by identifying the active ingredient from tradit ...
.


See also

*
Antimetabolite An antimetabolite is a chemical that enzyme inhibition, inhibits the use of a metabolite, which is another chemical that is part of normal metabolism. Such substances are often similar in structure to the metabolite that they interfere with, such ...
* Intermediary metabolism, also called intermediate metabolism *
Metabolic control analysis Metabolic control analysis (MCA) is a mathematical framework for describing Metabolic pathway, metabolic, Cell signaling#Signaling pathways, signaling, and genetic pathways. MCA quantifies how variables,elastsuch as fluxes and Chemical species, spec ...
*
Metabolomics Metabolomics is the scientific study of chemical processes involving metabolites, the small molecule substrates, intermediates, and products of cell metabolism. Specifically, metabolomics is the "systematic study of the unique chemical fingerprin ...
, the study of global metabolite profiles in a system (cell, tissue, or organism) under a given set of conditions *
Metabolic pathway In biochemistry, a metabolic pathway is a linked series of chemical reactions occurring within a cell (biology), cell. The reactants, products, and intermediates of an enzymatic reaction are known as metabolites, which are modified by a sequence ...
*
Volatile Organic Compounds Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are organic compound In chemistry, organic compounds are generally any chemical compounds that contain carbon-hydrogen or carbon-carbon chemical bond, bonds. Due to carbon's ability to Catenation, catenate (for ...


References


External links

*{{Commons category-inline, Metabolites Metabolism