Marvel III

Marvel vb \‘märv-ǝl\ : to become filled with surprise, wonder, or amazed curiosity

Molecular biology is sometimes the most mundane of the sciences …but sometimes it simply astounds.

Cholesterol – everybody’s got it. The body constantly balances the cholesterol levels by attempting to maintain homeostasis. Intake and synthesis of cholesterol is normally balanced with degradation (into bile acid) and excretion of cholesterol. If you didn’t get that: when you eat cholesterol you’re body converts cholesterol to bile acid and gets rid of it. When you dont eat it, your body makes its own. This is how we balance. Its called homeostasis.

The main step, the hump in the process, of cholesterol synthesis is controlled by an enzyme called HMG-CoA reductase. Never mind what all those letters mean. In short, its a protein in your body for making cholesterol.

When cholesterol levels in the cells are low, a protein called SREBP (sterol responsive element binding protein) is cut off from another protein. It travels into the cell nucleus where it hooks to DNA and says to the other proteins “Hey, I’m important! Come manufacture some stuff.” That stuff would be the aforementioned HMG-CoA Reductase. So the appropriate “machinery” makes haste to that spot of DNA, it manufactures some “stuff” and the cell is happy. The newly manufactured HMG-CoA Reductase then goes to make up some good ole cholesterol. (Cholesterol is very important even though some of us avoid it like the plague.)

As long as SREBP is hanging out with DNA, HMG CoA Reductase is getting churned out. But pretty soon, cholesterol levels in the cell get pretty high. Then its time to put on the brakes.

When Cholesterol levels rise, these other things called “oxysterols” are formed. We dont care what oxysterols are. We just care what they do. They go and get the SREBP and say “hey, thats enough of you sounding the alarm. Just chill out for a while.” And, like a good little boy, SREBP pulls itself away from the DNA. HMG-CoA Reductase levels drop. Cholesterol synthesis s-l-o-w-s down. And everybody is happy.

According to my professor, “it really is an ingenious way” to moderate cholesterol levels.

I find it quite amazing. And I can’t even see it. I have to think about God making this stuff up who knows how long ago and just watching it. And all along, its just waiting for humans to discover it and say Wow. Truly God is amazing to have created such and “ingenious” control device in the cell. Just think of how creative this God must be. Oh, he’s artistically creative. You can see that in a Pacific sunset. But he is also incredibly practical in his creativity. Divinely amazing. What an incredible Creator we have!

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