Gluconeogenesis

Be capable of naming the steps of the gluconeogenic pathway noting the enzymes not in common with glycolysis.

Understand how the primary gluconeogenic precursors enter the pathway.

Have a basic sense of the breakdown of glucogenic amino acids. You don't need to memorize complicated breakdown pathways (that's 2nd semester biochem) but you should probably know which amino acids are one transaminase step away from being a glycolytic or citric acid cycle intermediate.

Know the role of the coenzyme biotin in the pyruvate carboxylase mechanism.

Be able to describe the reciprocal regulation of glycolysis and gluconeogenesis with special focus on the effectors influencing activity of their respective control points phosphofructokinase and fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase.

Be able to describe the Cori cycle as a process by which the liver takes on metabolic load from skeletal muscle during heavy exertion.

The Pentose Phosphate Pathway

Be able to name the steps in the pentose phosphate pathway and describe the chemical changes occurring with each step.

Understand the metabolic role of the pentose phosphate pathway.

Possess a basic sense of the enzymatic mechanisms of ribulose 5-phosphate isomerase, pentose phosphate epimerase, transketolase, and transaldolase.

Be able to describe how the pentose phosphate pathway adjusts when cellular needs for NADPH and ribose 5-phosphate are not in balance, ie. when the need for one is much greater than the need for the other.

Glycogen Metabolism

Understand which types of glycosidic linkages are present in glycogen and be prepared to describe the structure of glycogen granules.

Be able to describe the mechanism of glycogen phosphorylase.

Comprehend why glycogen debranching enzyme is required for the breakdown of glycogen in addition to glycogen phosphorylase.

Know the steps of the glycogen synthetase mechanism including the role of UDP-glucose pyrophosphorylase in setting the stage.

Understand the intracellular signaling and regulatory mechanisms by which glycogen sythetase is nearly inactive when glycogen phosphorylase is active. Be prepared to relate these mechanisms hormonal control by insulin, glucagon, and epinephrine.

Fatty Acid Metabolism

Be able to describe hormonal triggers and primary signaling system for hydrolysis of triglycerides by lipases.

Understand the pathway by which glycerol is readily interconvertible with the glycolytic intermediate dihydroxyacetone phosphate.

Identity the role of carnitine in fatty acid metabolism.

Be capable of describing the structural changes that occur upon an acyl CoA molecule step by step proceeding through a round of the β-oxidation pathway beginning with oxidation by FAD and ending with thiolysis.

Understand the factors that lead to production of ketone bodies, the reactions involved in their synthesis, and their role in metabolism.

Amino Acid Degradation and the Urea Cycle

Be prepared to describe the roles of transaminase and glutamate dehydrogenase in funneling nitrogen from amino acid degradation to the urea cycle.

Understand how the coenzyme pyridoxal phosphate assists in the transaminase mechanism.

Be able to name the reagents and products of the carbamoyl phosphate synthetase reaction.

Know the steps of the urea cycle.

Comprehend how the urea cycle is linked to the citric acid cycle through the output of fumarate and the return of aspartate.

Possess a sense of what factors (metabolic entry points) determine whether an amino acid is glucogenic, ketogenic, or both.

Integration of Metabolism

Understand how to see a biochemical control system as a modular circuit comprised of signaling components, ranges of signal response behavior, and modes of biochemical feedback.

Be comfortable discussing the regulatory mechanisms that allow the major pathways of energy metabolism (glycolysis, the citric acid cycle, fatty acid and amino acid oxidation, and oxidative phosphorylation) to function together in a concerted way to produce ATP and biosynthetic precursors.

Be able to describe the integration of the major bioenergetic and biosynthetic pathways glycolysis, citric acid cycle, gluconeogenesis and the pentose phosphate pathway.

Have a clear picture of the metabolic conditions leading to ketogenesis and the mechanisms involved in the use of ketone bodies for energy.

Possess a basic familiarity with the mevalonate pathway for the production of isopentenyl pyrophosphate and dimethylallyl pyrophosphate and how it relates to the biosynthesis of terpenoids and steroids.

Understand the various differences in the metabolic patterns of the brain, muscle, adipose tissue, kidney, and liver.

Bird's Eye View

Be prepared for your first practice MCAT by ensuring that you have at least a reasonable familiarity of the entire body of knowledge required for the exam.

Be able to picture the four disciplines at the topic level from the bird's eye view.

Begin to experience a comfortable cover to cover recognition of the individual pages of your study materials.

Upon encountering an unfamiliar scientific phenomena, be able to place them within the proper field reference within the scientific disciplines.

Knowledge Mapping

Deepen your understanding of the design of the course and the order of topics in the Main Progression.

Consolidate Physics as the conceptual basis of General Chemistry.

Psychology & Sociology

Critical Analysis and Reasoning