AAT Bioquest

Can pyruvate be converted to other molecules?

Posted July 24, 2023


In aerobic conditions, pyruvate is converted to acetyl CoA by the PDH complex. This occurs after the process of glycolysis, when one molecule of glucose is converted into 2 molecules of pyruvate. Acetyl CoA acts as the energy source for the TSA cycle in the next stage of cellular respiration. Pyruvate can also be converted back to carbohydrates via gluconeogenesis. Gluconeogenesis functions as the opposite of glycolysis, forming a glucose molecule from pyruvate. 

In the absence of oxygen, anaerobic respiration. Pyruvate is converted to lactate by fermentation using the enzyme lactate dehydrogenase and the coenzyme NADH. The process results in a net yield of two ATP and two lactate molecules per glucose. Ethanol fermentation is a process in which pyruvate is first converted into carbon dioxide and acetaldehyde; then, acetaldehyde is converted to ethanol and oxidizes NADH to NAD+. 

Additional resources

Lactate: the ugly duckling of energy metabolism

Cellular Processes

Cell Signaling

Amplite® Fluorimetric Pyruvate Assay Kit