Why is Patrick Paralyzed?
Department of Biology
West Chester University of Pennsylvania
This “clicker case” introduces students to a rare genetic disease in which an enzyme is deficient in a critical metabolic pathway—the first step in aerobic respiration. Based on a real-life situation, the case challenges students to make connections between energy production, enzymes, and metabolic diseases. The case was developed for one-semester, majors’ introductory biology course taken primarily by freshmen and sophomores to fulfill a general education requirement, but could be used in any introductory biology course. It consists of a PowerPoint presentation (~1MB) shown in class that is punctuated by multiple-choice questions the students answer using personal response systems (aka “clickers”). The case could be adapted for use without these technologies.
- Understand why energy is necessary for sustaining life (a unifying theme in biology).
- Appreciate the importance of enzymes for catalyzing chemical reactions.
- Recognize that energy conversions are dependent on metabolic pathways.
- Understand the role of enzyme inhibition in metabolic pathways and predict the effects of enzyme deficiency due to genetic disease.
- Apply knowledge of converging metabolic pathways and enzyme inhibition to understand the treatment options for a metabolic disease.
KeywordsMetabolism; metabolic pathway; adenosine triphosphate; ATP; energy; enzyme; glycolysis; lactate fermentation; competitive inhibition; aerobic respiration; metabolic disease; pyruvate dehydrogenase complex deficiency; PDCD; paralysis
Educational LevelHigh school, Undergraduate lower division
Type / MethodsClicker, Interrupted
Subject HeadingsBiology (General) | Molecular Biology | Biochemistry | Medicine (General) |