ATP is an organic compound composed
of adenine, the sugar ribose, and three phosphate groups. ATP
serves as the major energy source within the cell to drive a number
of biological processes such as photosynthesis, muscle contraction,
and the synthesis of proteins. It is broken down by hydrolysis
to yield adenosine diphosphate (ADP), inorganic phosphorus, and
energy. ADP can be further broken down to yield adenosine monophosphate
(AMP), additional phosphorus, and more energy. When the phosphorus
and energy are immediately used to drive other reactions, such
as the synthesis of uridine diphosphate (UDP), an RNA precursor,
from uridine monophosphate (UMP), the pair of reactions are said
to be coupled. New ATP is produced from AMP using the energy released
from the breakdown of fuel molecules, such as fats and sugars.
Extracellularly, ATP has been found to act as a neurotransmitter.
ATP receptors are widespread through the body. On its own it is
known to have effects in the arteries, intestines, lungs, and
bladder. It is also often released in tandem with other neurotransmitters,
perhaps to add chemical stability.
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