Adenosine Triphosphate [ATP] is a nucleoside triphosphate used in cells as a coenzyme. Many times, it is called the molecular unit of currency because it can hold and release energy whenever a cell requires it. The structure of the ATP is simple and enhanced for maximum efficacy, being an adenosine molecule favorable with three phosphate groups. Energy is usually held and released in the main bonds holding the phosphate groups to each other and more so to the adenosine molecule.
Release of energy by pushing out one phosphate group yields ADP [adenosine diphosphate], and further removal of more phosphate group yields AMP [adenosine monophosphate]. ATP, ADP and AMP are all energy-rich molecules but adenosine triphosphate is most preferred of the other two. ATP is used as a substrate when it comes to signal transduction pathways by kinases that phosphorylate proteins and lipids, along with adenylate cyclase which used adenosine triphosphate to produce second messenger molecule cyclic AMP.
ATP was discovered by Karl Lohmann, Fiske and Y. Subbarow of Harvard medical school in 1929, but its structure was not discovered until years later. Later Fritz Albert Lipmann in 1941 proposed it was the main energy transfer molecule in the cell that controls energy-yielding and energy-requiring reactions. Alexander Todd later artificially synthesized it in 1948. From all the studies conducted in ATP, when describing the basis of human energy, adenosine triphosphate is the ground zero to rely on. Therefore, ATP is importance to the human cells in a number of ways. These include;
- ATP acts as the human battery- Adenosine Triphosphate stores energy within the body cells and then releases it when required to. Through several chemical reactions, the energy released is quickly restored while the body powers up ATP molecule with the food we eat and the oxygen we breathe.
- Aid in metabolism- ATP is integral the satisfying the metabolism functions of the body. The chemical product obtained from ingested food contributes to the production and maintenance of ATP. However, our ATP outcome depends on the food that we eat.
- Helps in cell structure and locomotion- ATP is also involved in maintaining cell structure by enabling assembly and disassembly of elements of the cytoskeleton. It is required in the shortening of actin and myosin filament crossbridges necessary for muscle contraction and provides essential energy for respiration and locomotion.
- It is also a signaling molecule- ATP and ADP are recognized by purinergic receptors, which are the most abundant receptors in mammalian tissues. Signaling role is essential in both central and peripheral nervous systems.
- Aids in DNA and RNA synthesis- In the synthesis of the nucleic acid RNA, the adenosine derived from ATP is one of the four nucleotides included directly into RNA molecules by the RNA polymerases. This process is similar to DNA biosynthesis, except that ATP is reduced to the deoxyribonucleotide dATP before it is included into DNA.
There are many adenosine triphosphate molecules produced every day in the human body and the body can also produce more ATP within 24 hours. Over the course of a living organism lifetime, adenosine triphosphate is the driving force that keeps the body moving and functioning.
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