Bizarre

Bizarre - Bizarre Biochemistry Bizarre Biochemistry Science...

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Unformatted text preview: Bizarre Biochemistry Bizarre Biochemistry Science Lecture Series October 6, 1999 University of San Diego Bizarre Biochemistry Water - the Elixir of Life • “Whiskey is for drinking; water is for fighting over.” ( Mark Twain ) • Life is bizarre in the desert, ocean & Arctic • Consider: – Camels, gerbils, Dorcas gazelles, kangaroo rats – Whales, dolphins – Polar bears • But no more bizarre than your car... Bizarre Biochemistry There’s not as much yellow snow in the Arctic as you might think! Bizarre Biochemistry Turning Fat into Water • Fats (and gasoline) contain highly reduced carbon (lots of electrons and hydrogens) • “Oxidation” of these molecules to CO 2 requires that you put those electrons and Hs somewhere - and water results! One 16-C fatty acid → 16CO 2 + 130H O Bizarre Biochemistry Why are there blondes in Italian paintings? • Blonde hair is rare in Italy, but the Vikings or other northern Europeans may have been known to the Italians • But hydrogen peroxide was not known until about 1850, and L’Oréal much later…. • Italian women may have relied on plants! • Peroxisomes contain H 2 O 2 , and the sun can help Bizarre Biochemistry The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli Bizarre Biochemistry La Primavera by Sandro Botticelli Bizarre Biochemistry Peroxisomes, like lysosomes, contain powerful enzymes that use molecular oxygen and generate peroxide. Bizarre Biochemistry “Beautiful Eyes” - at a price • Atropa belladonna (Deadly nightshade) makes atropine, an “anticholinergic” agent • Used to dilate pupils in eye exams • Used by Italian women in ancient times to dilate pupils, making them “beautiful” but compromising their eyesight! • It prevents opening of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, blocking nerve impulses Bizarre Biochemistry Atropa belladonna Deadly Nightshade Belladonna - literally “beautiful woman” Bizarre Biochemistry A model of the acetylcholine receptor by Eberhard von Kitzing of the Max Planck Inst. in Heidelberg Atropine prevents the channel from opening - thus blocking nerve impulses Bizarre Biochemistry The Blue Fugates of Kentucky • In 1820, Martin Fugate settled on Troublesome Creek in Kentucky • He was blue • Six generations later, there were many blue...
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This note was uploaded on 05/22/2011 for the course BCH 4054 taught by Professor Logan/gilmer during the Spring '06 term at FSU.

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Bizarre - Bizarre Biochemistry Bizarre Biochemistry Science...

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