The model above shows a molecule of adenosine triphosphate, commonly known as ATP.
ATP is a common "energy currency" in all living organisms. The organism burns food, and stores some of the energy from the "burning" in the bonds of the ATP molecule. Reactions of the ATP that lead to bonds storing less energy are used to supply energy to other reactions in the organism.
In the model above, the grey balls represent carbon (C) atoms, white balls represent hydrogen (H) atoms, blue balls represent nitrogen (N) atoms, red balls represent oxygen (O) atoms, and orange balls represent phosphorus (P) atoms.
One can think about the ATP molecule as having three main parts:
All of the issues mentioned here are discussed in an introductory course in organic and biochemistry.
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Last update: June 26, 2010