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ATP Is the Universal Currency of Free Energy in Biological Systems

ATP is an energy-rich molecule because its triphosphate unit contains two


phosphoanhydride bonds
A large amount of free energy is liberated when ATP is hydrolyzed to
adenosine diphosphate (ADP) and orthophosphate (Pi) or when ATP is
hydrolyzed to adenosine monophosphate (AMP) and pyrophosphate (PPi).
The role of ATP in energy metabolism is paramount
Penting !
Living organisms require a continual input of free energy for three major purposes: (1) the
performance of mechanical work in muscle contraction and other cellular movements, (2) the
active transport of molecules and ions, and (3) the synthesis of macromolecules and other
biomolecules from simple precursors
How does coupling to ATP hydrolysis make possible an otherwise unfavorable reaction?
Consider a chemical reaction that is thermodynamically unfavorable without an input of free
energy, a situation common to many biosynthetic reactions => In other words, coupling the
hydrolysis of ATP with the conversion of A into B has changed the equilibrium ratio of B to A by
a factor of about 108.
We see here the thermodynamic essence of ATP's action as an energy-coupling agent. Cells
maintain a high level of
ATP by using oxidizable substrates or light as sources of free energy. The hydrolysis of an ATP molecule
in a coupled
reaction then changes the equilibrium ratio of products to reactants by a very large factor, of the order of
108. More
generally, the hydrolysis of n ATP molecules changes the equilibrium ratio of a coupled reaction (or
sequence of reactions) by a factor of 108n

3. The electron donor in most reductive biosyntheses is NADPH, the reduced form of nicotinamide
adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADP+; see Figure 14.13). NADPH differs from NADH in that the 2 -
hydroxyl group of its adenosine moiety is esterified with phosphate. NADPH carries electrons in the same
way as NADH. However, NADPH is used almost exclusively for reductive biosyntheses, whereas NADH
is used primarily for the generation of ATP. The extra phosphoryl group on NADPH is a tag that enables
enzymes to distinguish between high-potential electrons to be used in anabolism and those to be used in
catabolism.