First Half of Glycolysis (Energy-Requiring Steps)


This illustration shows the steps in the first half of glycolysis. In step one, the enzyme hexokinase uses one A T P molecule in the phosphorylation of glucose. In step two, glucose dash 6 dash phosphate is rearranged to form fructose dash 6  dash phosphate by phosphoglucose isomerase. In step three, phosphofructokinase uses a second A T P molecule in the phosphorylation of the substrate, forming fructose dash 1, 6 dash bisphosphate. The enzyme fructose bisphosphate aldose splits the substrate into two, forming glyceraldeyde dash 3 dash phosphate and dihydroxyacetone-phosphate. In step 4, triose phosphate isomerase converts the dihydroxyacetone-phosphate into glyceraldehyde dash 3 dash phosphate.
The first half of glycolysis uses two ATP molecules in the phosphorylation of glucose, which is then split into two three-carbon molecules.

Source: OpenStax Biology 2e

OpenStax Biology 2e

Step 1. The first step in glycolysis is catalyzed by hexokinase, an enzyme with broad specificity that catalyzes the phosphorylation of six-carbon sugars. Hexokinase phosphorylates glucose using ATP as the source of the phosphate, producing glucose-6-phosphate, a more reactive form of glucose. This reaction prevents the phosphorylated glucose molecule from continuing to interact with the GLUT proteins, and it can no longer leave the cell because the negatively charged phosphate will not allow it to cross the hydrophobic interior of the plasma membrane.

– What is any of a group of enzymes that accelerate the phosphorylation of hexoses (as in the formation of glucose-6-phosphate from glucose and ATP) in carbohydrate metabolism?

Step 2. In the second step of glycolysis, an isomerase converts glucose-6-phosphate into one of its isomers, fructose-6-phosphate (this isomer has a phosphate attached at the location of the sixth carbon of the ring). An isomerase is an enzyme that catalyzes the conversion of a molecule into one of its isomers. (This change from phosphoglucose to phosphofructose allows the eventual split of the sugar into two three-carbon molecules.)

Step 3. The third step is the phosphorylation of fructose-6-phosphate, catalyzed by the enzyme phosphofructokinase. A second ATP molecule donates a high-energy phosphate to fructose-6-phosphate, producing fructose-1,6-bisphosphate. In this pathway, phosphofructokinase is a rate-limiting enzyme. It is active when the concentration of ADP is high; it is less active when ADP levels are low and the concentration of ATP is high. Thus, if there is “sufficient” ATP in the system, the pathway slows down. This is a type of end product inhibition, since ATP is the end product of glucose catabolism.

– What is a tetrameric enzyme composed of three distinct subunits, muscle, liver, and platelet, which are variably expressed in different tissues?

Step 4. The newly added high-energy phosphates further destabilize fructose-1,6-bisphosphate. The fourth step in glycolysis employs an enzyme, aldolase, to cleave fructose-1,6-bisphosphate into two three-carbon isomers: dihydroxyacetone phosphate and glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate.

Step 5. In the fifth step, an isomerase transforms the dihydroxyacetone-phosphate into its isomer, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate. Thus, the pathway will continue with two molecules of a glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate. At this point in the pathway, there is a net investment of energy from two ATP molecules in the breakdown of one glucose molecule.

All cells contain the enzyme hexokinase, which catalyzes the conversion of glucose that has entered the cell into glucose-6-phosphate (G6P). Since the cell membrane is impervious to G6P, hexokinase essentially acts to transport glucose into the cells from which it can then no longer escape. Hexokinase is inhibited by high levels of G6P in the cell. Thus the rate of entry of glucose into cells partially depends on how fast G6P can be disposed of by glycolysis, and by glycogen synthesis (in the cells which store glycogen, namely liver and muscles).


Clark, M., Douglas, M., Choi, J. Biology 2e. Houston, Texas: OpenStax. Access for free at:

Stryer, Lubert (1995). “Glycolysis.”. In: Biochemistry (Fourth ed.). New York: W.H. Freeman and Company. pp. 483–508. ISBN 0-7167-2009-4.

Voet, Donald; Judith G. Voet; Charlotte W. Pratt (2006). Fundamentals of Biochemistry, 2nd Edition. John Wiley and Sons, Inc. pp. 547, 556ISBN 978-0-471-21495-3.


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