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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Explain the role of ATP as the cellular energy currency
  • Describe how energy is released through hydrolysis of ATP

6.3a atp structure and function

Even exergonic, energy-releasing reactions require a small amount of activation energy in order to proceed. However, consider endergonic reactions, which require much more energy input, because their products have more free energy than their reactants. Within the cell, where does energy to power such reactions come from? The answer lies with an energy-supplying molecule called adenosine triphosphate     , or ATP     . ATP is a small, relatively simple molecule ( [link] ), but within some of its bonds, it contains the potential for a quick burst of energy that can be harnessed to perform cellular work. This molecule can be thought of as the primary energy currency of cells in much the same way that money is the currency that people exchange for things they need. ATP is used to power the majority of energy-requiring cellular reactions.

The molecular structure of adenosine triphosphate is shown. Three phosphate groups are attached to a ribose sugar. Adenine is also attached to the ribose.
ATP is the primary energy currency of the cell. It has an adenosine backbone with three phosphate groups attached.

As its name suggests, adenosine triphosphate is comprised of adenosine bound to three phosphate groups ( [link] ). Adenosine is a RNA nucleotide without the phosphate (so just the nitrogenous base and sugar). Together, the adenosine and the three phosphates constitute an energy powerhouse. The bonds between the phosphates are considered "high-energy" bonds because the products of such bond breaking—adenosine diphosphate (ADP) and one inorganic phosphate group (P i )—have considerably lower free energy than the reactants: ATP and a water molecule. Because this reaction takes place with the use of a water molecule, it is considered a hydrolysis reaction. In other words, ATP is hydrolyzed into ADP in the following reaction:

ATP + H 2 O ADP + P i + free energy size 12{{ATP} + H rSub { size 8{2} } O ADP + P rSub { size 8{i}} + {free energy} } {}

Like most chemical reactions, the hydrolysis of ATP to ADP is reversible. The reverse reaction regenerates ATP from ADP + P i . Indeed, cells rely on the regeneration of ATP just as people rely on the regeneration of spent money through some sort of income. Since ATP hydrolysis releases energy, ATP regeneration must require an input of free energy. The formation of ATP is expressed in this equation:

ADP + P i + free energy ATP + H 2 O size 12{{ATP} + H rSub { size 8{2} } O ADP + P rSub { size 8{i}} + {free energy} } {}

ATP is a highly unstable molecule. Unless quickly used to perform work, ATP spontaneously dissociates into ADP + P i , and the free energy released during this process is lost as heat. So how is energy released by ATP hydrolysis used to perform work inside the cell? It depends on a strategy called energy coupling. Cells couple the exergonic reaction of ATP hydrolysis with endergonic reactions, allowing them to proceed.

6.3b atp in living systems

At the heart of ATP is a molecule of adenosine monophosphate (AMP), which is composed of an adenine molecule bonded to a ribose molecule and to a single phosphate group ( [link] ). Ribose is a five-carbon sugar found in RNA, and AMP is one of the nucleotides in RNA. The addition of a second phosphate group to this core molecule results in the formation of adenosine di phosphate (ADP); the addition of a third phosphate group forms adenosine tri phosphate (ATP).

Questions & Answers

what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
Damian
yes that's correct
Professor
I think
Professor
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
Rafiq
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
Damian
How we are making nano material?
LITNING Reply
what is a peer
LITNING Reply
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
LITNING Reply
What is STMs full form?
LITNING
scanning tunneling microscope
Sahil
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Santosh
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
Mahi
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
Rafiq
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
Bob
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
brayan
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Damian
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
Renato
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
?
Kyle
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
Adin
why?
Adin
what school?
Kyle
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
Joe
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
research.net
kanaga
sciencedirect big data base
Ernesto
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
Bharti
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
Daniel
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, General biology part i - mixed majors. OpenStax CNX. May 16, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11749/1.5
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