Three Components of ATP

ATP stores food energy to power all human activity.
••• Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

ATP is an abbreviation for adenosine triphosphate, a molecule present in the cytoplasm and nucleus of cells that stores energy from food and releases this energy to drive all physiological processes in the body. The components and bonding structure of ATP give it this crucial energy-storing capacity.

Ribose

At the center of an ATP molecule is ribose -- a simple sugar containing a ring of five carbon atoms. Ribose is the same sugar present in ribonucleic acid (RNA), a strand of molecules crucial for protein synthesis and gene expression. This ribose molecule is not modified during the energy-releasing process that powers activity in the cell.

Adenine

Connected to the side of the ribose molecule is adenine, a base which consists of nitrogen and carbon atoms in a double-ring structure. Adenine is also an important component of DNA. Its ability to bond with thymine in a strand of DNA accounts for the structure of human genetic material.

Phosphates

The other side of the ribose molecule in ATP connects to a string of three phosphate groups. A phosphate group consists of a phosphorus atom joined to four oxygen atoms by covalent bonds. In the string of three phosphates, two of the oxygen atoms are shared between phosphorus atoms. This structure is what makes ATP an effective energy storage molecule.

Storing and Releasing Energy

When a water molecule is added to an ATP molecule, a chemical reaction takes place. ATP gives up one of its phosphates to the water molecule or to another molecule in a process known as phosphorylization. This chemical change is an exothermic reaction, meaning the process releases stored energy. The result of the reaction is adenosine triphosphate (ADP), which can store more energy obtained from sunlight or food by the addition of another phosphate group to the chain.

Related Articles

The Most Common Organic Molecules in Cells
What Types of Molecules Catalyze RNA Splicing?
What Is the Difference Between a Nucleotide & a Nucleoside?
Importance of Free Ribosomes
What Is the Difference Between NADH and NADPH?
What Are Nucleic Acids Made Of?
What Are the Processes by Which Macromolecules Are...
Elements of Nucleic Acids
Does RNA Contain a Genetic Code?
What Is the Sun's Role in Photosynthesis?
Is the Krebs Cycle Aerobic or Anaerobic?
Definition of Plant Respiration
Nucleic Acid Facts
What Combination of Chromosomes Results in a Boy?
What Are the Subunits of DNA?
How Are Photosynthesis & Cellular Respiration Related?
How Does Phosphorylation Affect Protein Activity?
What Role Do Vitamins Play in Enzyme Activity?
What Is Nadph in Photosynthesis?

Dont Go!

We Have More Great Sciencing Articles!