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Mighty Mitochondrion

The mighty mitochondrion, A most amazing organelle, An energetic proton pump, The powerhouse within the cell. These little guys can replicate, Undergo fission when they’re large And are created on demand When a cell in need’s in charge. For those who might be curious, We get these mostly from our mom. The sperm, a hundred in its tail; The egg, 100K’s the ROM. They each have their own DNA, Can make the proteins each requires, But what completely drops my jaw: Electron flow on protein wires. You may recall your chemistry; For me, a long, long time ago… ‘Bout ADP and ATP, The fuel of all the life we know. Just like a sack within a sack, A double membrane does surround A matrix lies within the core That’s where the true excitement’s found. Embedded all throughout the fold Are proteins that perform a task: To transfer charge across this wall. How so? I thought you’d never ask… See, proteins are assembled from Amino acids, one by one. Sometimes, two hundred links or more, But there’s still more that must be done. The long chain folds up like a ball Or tube embedded in that skin Enough to span the membrane wall To let electrons pass within. The chain must fold in such a way That iron crystals - there are nine, Are held within, extreme, precise, Forming a gradient, a line. It’s hard to state just how precise; Some fourteen atom widths apart Arranged with slight increasing draw To drive a stake through O2’s heart. Like hopping on these stepping stones, Electrons jump from one to next. Controlled release of energy Lest excess heat would surely vex. As each electron takes this path, A single proton is knocked loose. The process that ensues, complex, But ATP is what’s produced. Three protons for each molecule, Ten protons in a second’s tick. How many are there, all in all? The number gets huge pretty quick. Within each mitochondrion, Ten thousand of these pumps or more And mitochondria per cell? That ranges in the scores of scores. You’re made of 40 trillion cells; If you unfold their layers flat They’d cover four entire fields For playing football - how ‘bout that! Combined, ten to the twenty-first, The protons that these pumps coerce Per second, slightly smaller than The stars in the known universe. You are indeed most wondrous made; The more I look, the more enthralled. Complexity is off the charts; Praise to the One who made it all.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2022

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Date: 5/17/2022 8:04:00 PM
I may recall chemistry - if I'm really desperate for something to puzzle me forever... This reads like you wrote the blinkin' Chem Textbook, for cryin' out loud! For me, you are Mr. Wizard! ~ In Awe
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Date: 5/16/2022 7:59:00 PM
Wow! If I had not already written another one, I might write a poem in awe of this poem, Jeff. Either you were a biochemist or physiologist in a prior life, or you spent considerable time researching this subject for your poem. In any case, you are deserving of kudos, and I, for one, am proud of you for it!!!
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Jeff Kyser
Date: 5/16/2022 8:26:00 PM
Thanks, Milt. I have been reading a number of books making arguments for design. They are just so interesting! The more I learn about the inner workings of our cells, the more fascinated I get. I wanted to share some of it, and that got me thinking there might be other things folks got really excited about and wanted to share as well.