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Monday on the Metabolic Ward

Adventures in Glycolysis


Nancy M. Boury
Department of Animal Science
Iowa State University


This case is a variation of a longer case in our collection titled "Murder or Medical Mishap? Death on the Metabolic Ward," which has a "murder-mystery" aspect to it.  In both versions of the case, students assume the role of pre-med students participating in a summer internship. As interns, they diagnose several different genetic deficiencies of glycolytic pathway enzymes based on the biochemical activity of blood samples. In order to accurately interpret the blood test data, the students first complete a brief homework assignment before the case is presented. This assignment requires students to describe the reactants, products, and enzymes of the glycolytic pathway. The case reviews the process of glycolysis and its importance in the human body.  As the students work through the case, they are introduced to the physiological significance of isoenzymes and the regulation of glycolysis. The case is designed as a "clicker case" using personal response systems or "clickers" to engage students in a large classroom setting.  It is suitable for a second-semester general biology or anatomy and physiology course.

  • Outline the process of the Embden-Myerhof pathway from glucose to pyruvate.
  • Predict the products and substrates present when a single enzyme of glycolysis is dysfunctional.
  • Analyze a set of data to determine which enzyme in the Embden-Myerhof pathway is dysfunctional.
  • Describe the insulin and glucagon feedback regulation required to maintain blood glucose homeostasis.
  • Use specific examples to demonstrate the value of isoenzymes in glycolysis.
Keywords: Glycolysis; glucose; blood sugar; glucagon, insulin; energy; homeostasis; enzymes; isoenzymes; metabolism; metabolic disorders; Embden-Myerhof; anemia; hereditary fructose intolerance
Topical Area: N/A
Educational Level: Undergraduate lower division
Formats: PDF, PowerPoint
Type/Method: Clicker, Interrupted, Role-Play
Language: English
Subject Headings: Biology (General)   Physiology   Biochemistry  
Date Posted: 10/31/2012
Date Modified: N/A
Copyright: Copyright held by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Please see our usage guidelines, which outline our policy concerning permissible reproduction of this work.

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