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Step 4. The newly added high-energy phosphates further destabilize fructose-1,6-bisphosphate. The fourth step in glycolysis employs an enzyme, aldolase, to cleave 1,6-bisphosphate into two three-carbon isomers: dihydroxyacetone-phosphate and glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate.

Step 5. In the fifth step, an isomerase transforms the dihydroxyacetone-phosphate into its isomer, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate. Thus, the pathway will continue with two molecules of a single isomer. At this point in the pathway, there is a net investment of energy from two ATP molecules in the breakdown of one glucose molecule.

This illustration shows the steps in the first half of glycolysis. In step one, the enzyme hexokinase uses one ATP molecule in the phosphorylation of glucose. In step two, glucose-6-phosphate is rearranged to form fructose-6-phosphate by phosphoglucose isomerase. In step three, phosphofructokinase uses a second ATP molecule in the phosphorylation of the substrate, forming fructose-1,6-bisphosphate. The enzyme fructose bisphosphate aldose splits the substrate into two, forming glyceraldeyde-3-phosphate and dihydroxyacetone-phosphate. In step 4, triose phosphate isomerase converts the dihydroxyacetone-phosphate into glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate
The first half of glycolysis uses two ATP molecules in the phosphorylation of glucose, which is then split into two three-carbon molecules.

Second half of glycolysis (energy-releasing steps)

So far, glycolysis has cost the cell two ATP molecules and produced two small, three-carbon sugar molecules. Both of these molecules will proceed through the second half of the pathway, and sufficient energy will be extracted to pay back the two ATP molecules used as an initial investment and produce a profit for the cell of two additional ATP molecules and two even higher-energy NADH molecules.

Step 6. The sixth step in glycolysis ( [link] ) oxidizes the sugar (glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate), extracting high-energy electrons, which are picked up by the electron carrier NAD + , producing NADH. The sugar is then phosphorylated by the addition of a second phosphate group, producing 1,3-bisphosphoglycerate. Note that the second phosphate group does not require another ATP molecule.

This illustration shows the steps in the second half of glycolysis. In step six, the enzyme glyceraldehydes-3-phosphate dehydrogenase produces one NADH molecule and forms 1,3-bisphosphoglycerate. In step seven, the enzyme phosphoglycerate kinase removes a phosphate group from the substrate, forming one ATP molecule and 3-phosphoglycerate. In step eight, the enzyme phosphoglycerate mutase rearranges the substrate to form 2-phosphoglycerate. In step nine, the enzyme enolase rearranges the substrate to form phosphoenolpyruvate. In step ten, a phosphate group is removed from the substrate, forming one ATP molecule and pyruvate.
The second half of glycolysis involves phosphorylation without ATP investment (step 6) and produces two NADH and four ATP molecules per glucose.

Here again is a potential limiting factor for this pathway. The continuation of the reaction depends upon the availability of the oxidized form of the electron carrier, NAD + . Thus, NADH must be continuously oxidized back into NAD + in order to keep this step going. If NAD + is not available, the second half of glycolysis slows down or stops. If oxygen is available in the system, the NADH will be oxidized readily, though indirectly, and the high-energy electrons from the hydrogen released in this process will be used to produce ATP. In an environment without oxygen, an alternate pathway (fermentation) can provide the oxidation of NADH to NAD + .

Step 7. In the seventh step, catalyzed by phosphoglycerate kinase (an enzyme named for the reverse reaction), 1,3-bisphosphoglycerate donates a high-energy phosphate to ADP, forming one molecule of ATP. (This is an example of substrate-level phosphorylation.) A carbonyl group on the 1,3-bisphosphoglycerate is oxidized to a carboxyl group, and 3-phosphoglycerate is formed.

Step 8. In the eighth step, the remaining phosphate group in 3-phosphoglycerate moves from the third carbon to the second carbon, producing 2-phosphoglycerate (an isomer of 3-phosphoglycerate). The enzyme catalyzing this step is a mutase (isomerase).

Step 9. Enolase catalyzes the ninth step. This enzyme causes 2-phosphoglycerate to lose water from its structure; this is a dehydration reaction, resulting in the formation of a double bond that increases the potential energy in the remaining phosphate bond and produces phosphoenolpyruvate (PEP).

Step 10. The last step in glycolysis is catalyzed by the enzyme pyruvate kinase (the enzyme in this case is named for the reverse reaction of pyruvate’s conversion into PEP) and results in the production of a second ATP molecule by substrate-level phosphorylation and the compound pyruvic acid (or its salt form, pyruvate). Many enzymes in enzymatic pathways are named for the reverse reactions, since the enzyme can catalyze both forward and reverse reactions (these may have been described initially by the reverse reaction that takes place in vitro, under non-physiological conditions).

Gain a better understanding of the breakdown of glucose by glycolysis by visiting this site to see the process in action.

Outcomes of glycolysis

Glycolysis starts with glucose and ends with two pyruvate molecules, a total of four ATP molecules and two molecules of NADH. Two ATP molecules were used in the first half of the pathway to prepare the six-carbon ring for cleavage, so the cell has a net gain of two ATP molecules and 2 NADH molecules for its use. If the cell cannot catabolize the pyruvate molecules further, it will harvest only two ATP molecules from one molecule of glucose. Mature mammalian red blood cells are not capable of aerobic respiration    —the process in which organisms convert energy in the presence of oxygen—and glycolysis is their sole source of ATP. If glycolysis is interrupted, these cells lose their ability to maintain their sodium-potassium pumps, and eventually, they die.

The last step in glycolysis will not occur if pyruvate kinase, the enzyme that catalyzes the formation of pyruvate, is not available in sufficient quantities. In this situation, the entire glycolysis pathway will proceed, but only two ATP molecules will be made in the second half. Thus, pyruvate kinase is a rate-limiting enzyme for glycolysis.

Section summary

Glycolysis is the first pathway used in the breakdown of glucose to extract energy. It was probably one of the earliest metabolic pathways to evolve and is used by nearly all of the organisms on earth. Glycolysis consists of two parts: The first part prepares the six-carbon ring of glucose for cleavage into two three-carbon sugars. ATP is invested in the process during this half to energize the separation. The second half of glycolysis extracts ATP and high-energy electrons from hydrogen atoms and attaches them to NAD + . Two ATP molecules are invested in the first half and four ATP molecules are formed by substrate phosphorylation during the second half. This produces a net gain of two ATP and two NADH molecules for the cell.

Questions & Answers

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Source:  OpenStax, General biology i lecture. OpenStax CNX. Aug 25, 2015 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11869/1.1
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