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The Organic Chemistry of Biological Pathways

John McMurry, Tadhg Begley

Gebunden, 490 Seiten
1. Auflage - 2005
ISBN: 0-9747077-1-6
Roberts & Company Publishers


Chemistry of Biological Pathways provides a contemporary and authoritative treatment of the molecular logic of the chemistry of life... The authors have chosen to organize the text not by organic reaction type but by metabolic pathway. Doing so allows them to explain not only the chemistry of any given step but also the molecular logic of the entire pathway. Readers thus gain a deeper understanding of how and why the organic molecules of life undergo their sequential transformations and interconversions. To integrate the information from earlier chapters, as well as tie in traditional modes of organic reaction classification, the authors conclude with a summary chapter of the most common reaction types encountered in metabolism.

--- from the Foreword by Christopher T. Walsh, Harvard University


Over the past few years, X-ray crystal structures of enzymes and molecular modeling of enzyme-substrate complexes have revolutionized biochemistry, the science of the chemical processes in living systems. While in earlier times the organization of proteins and the structure of DNA were of interest, and the metabolic cycles and the participating enzymes were described, the processes that occur between enzymes and substrates have increasingly claimed the center of attention.

John McMurry and Tadhg Begley have authored an interdisciplinary presentation that includes a wealth of information. From the most important organic chemical reaction types that play a role in enzymatic transformations, through a variety of biomolecules and treatments of stereochemistry, all the way to specific metabolic reactions, these authors offer readily understandable mechanistic explanations, e.g. of the biosynthesis of amino acids and the degradation of sugars. The strong suit of “The Organic Chemistry of Biological Pathways” lies in its detailed treatment of metabolic reactions, which has been done extremely well. The language of the text is easy to understand, the schemes have been created with care and attention to detail, and the reader’s grasp of this knowledge can be solidified by working through a broad range of exercises. Moreover, the selection of current literature citations makes this a valuable reference work.

Students of chemistry will thus learn the mechanisms of organic chemistry in the context of interesting metabolic reactions; they can then apply this knowledge themselves in the exercises and obtain a good overview of important natural products while doing so. With the detailed treatment of mechanisms provided here, the future chemist will be equipped with the fundamentals needed for further study. Considering the potential impact it can have on one’s later research in the fields of biochemistry, medicinal chemistry or in the development of catalysts for the more specific transformation of substrates, the purchase of the book is money well spent. “The Organic Chemistry of Biological Pathways” is an excellent supplement to the chemistry student’s textbooks for organic chemistry or biochemistry, since this work is of benefit to both fields of endeavor.


1 Common Mechanisms in Biological Chemistry
2 Biomolecules
3 Lipid Metabolism
4 Carbohydrate Metabolism
5 Amino Acid Metabolism
6 Nucleotide Metabolism
7 Biosynthesis of Some Natural Products
8 A Summary of Biological Transformations
A. Visualizing Protein Structures Using the Swiss PDB Viewer
B. Using the KEGG and BRENDA Databases
C. Answers to End-of-Chapter Problems
D. Abbreviations Used in This Book