Question Video: Recalling the Cellular Structure in Which Glycolysis Occurs Biology

In what part of a eukaryotic or prokaryotic cell does glycolysis take place?


Video Transcript

In what part of a eukaryotic or prokaryotic cell does glycolysis take place?

This question is asking about glycolysis, the first stage of cellular respiration. To answer it, let’s review the key facts of cellular respiration and where in the cell it occurs.

All organisms use nutrients, usually glucose, for energy. Some, like plants, make their own nutrients, and others, like us, eat them. But all use a process called cellular respiration to break them down to release energy, which is then transferred to adenosine triphosphate, ATP. Adenosine triphosphate — tri- means three, so ATP contains three phosphate groups — then stores this energy until it is needed by the organism to power metabolic reactions or to carry out essential processes like digestion, breathing, and movement.

Now that we understand the purpose of cellular respiration, let’s look more closely at the process of glycolysis.

Glycolysis is the first stage of both aerobic and anaerobic cellular respiration. During the process of glycolysis, two molecules of the three-carbon molecule pyruvate are produced from one molecule of the six-carbon glucose. There is a net production of two adenosine triphosphate molecules, which, as we’ve just seen, are important for energy storage. Two molecules of reduced NAD are also produced, which are used in a later stage of cellular respiration.

The whole process takes place in the cytoplasm of both prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Then, if oxygen is present, the pyruvate molecules will be transferred into the mitochondria to complete the aerobic respiration of glucose, aerobic meaning with oxygen. If oxygen is not available, the pyruvate stays in the cytoplasm for the completion of anaerobic respiration, an- meaning without.

Now that we have reviewed these key points about cellular respiration, and in particular glycolysis, let’s return to our question. We can now give the correct answer. The part of the eukaryotic or prokaryotic cell where glycolysis takes place is a cytoplasm.

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