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ATP as an energy currency

Submitted by bpmccarthy on Wed, 11/06/2019 - 16:10

ATP itself does not give energy directly to a process that may need it, rather it is the breaking down of ATP that gives a reaction the energy it needs to proceed. The energy that ATP gives comes from energy released by breaking the bonds in its structure. The three phosphate groups attached to each other all have the same charge, and like charges prefer not to be close to one another. Given this relationship, a lot of energy is required to bond these phosphate groups together. When a reaction needs energy, the bond between the second and third phosphate group of the ATP molecule is broken, which releases a large amount of energy that can be used by reactants. Because mitochondria produce the cell’s major energy source, ATP, mitochondria are referred to as “the powerhouse of the cell”.