Animations of bio-organic reactions

COMP 118

Paul B. Savage and Steven A. Fleming. Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Brigham Young University, C100 BNSN, Provo, UT 84602
Many students who take organic chemistry courses continue on to careers in biological sciences. In their continuing education, they take multiple biochemistry and biology courses. The understanding of most biological processes is now at the molecular level, so it is important that students learn biochemical principles at this level. To achieve this end, students need to make correlations between organic chemistry and biochemical reactions. Because students may be tempted to memorize reaction outcomes rather than understand reaction processes, we have prepared animations of several enzymatic reactions. We use coordinates from X-ray structures and calculated reaction trajectories, allowing visualization of biochemical reactions in a simplified and informative format. These animations allow 3D manipulation of the enzyme active site. Students learn about the nature of the binding site, residues involved in reaction catalysis, and mechanisms of chemical transformations. This information allows a clear correlation between organic chemistry and biochemical reactions.