Skip to main content
Biology LibreTexts

18.6: Precursor Metabolites: Linking Catabolic and Anabolic Pathways

Skills to Develop

  1. Define precursor metabolites and indicate their importance in metabolism.

Many other metabolic pathways are going on within cells in addition to those involved in energy production. Although time doesn't allow going into most of them in detail, they include the synthesis of building block molecules (amino acids, purines, pyrimidines, nucleotides, lipids, etc.), macromolecules (DNA, RNA, proteins), and cellular structures (membranes, cell walls, flagella, pili, mitochondria, chloroplasts, etc.).

Catabolic pathways provide the energy that fuel anabolic pathways. Another factor that links catabolic and anabolic pathways is the generation of precursor metabolites. Precursor metabolites are intermediate molecules in catabolic and anabolic pathways that can be either oxidized to generate ATP or can be used to synthesize macromolecular subunits such as amino acids, lipids, and nucleotides as shown in Figure 18.6.1.

Figure 18.6.1: Integration of Metabolism - Precursor Metabolites. Carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids can be used as energy sources; metabolites involved in energy production can be used to synthesize carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, nucleic acids, and cellular structures.

Summary

Catabolic pathways provide the energy that fuel anabolic pathways. Precursor metabolites are intermediate molecules in catabolic and anabolic pathways that can be either oxidized to generate ATP or can be used to synthesize macromolecular subunits such as amino acids, lipids, and nucleotides.

Contributors

  • Dr. Gary Kaiser (COMMUNITY COLLEGE OF BALTIMORE COUNTY, CATONSVILLE CAMPUS)