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(1) Abbreviation for adenosine triphosphate, empirical formula: C10H16N5O13P3

(2) An organic compound composed of adenosine (an adenine ring and a ribose sugar) and three phosphate groups, hence, the name.


ATP is a nucleotide that contains a large amount of chemical energy stored in its high-energy phosphate bonds. It releases energy when it is broken down (hydrolyzed) into ADP (or Adenosine Diphosphate). The energy is used for many metabolic processes. Hence, ATP is considered as the universal energy currency for metabolism.

ATP is produced via cellular respiration in the mitochondria and photosynthesis in chloroplasts.

Its functions are for intracellular energy transport for various metabolic processes including biosynthetic reactions, motility, and cell division. It is also used as a substrate by kinases that phosphorylate proteins and lipids, and by adenylate cyclase to produce cyclic AMP.

Word origin: from abbreviation of adenosine triphosphate.

Compare: AMP, ADP.
See also: cellular respiration.

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