The Production And Functions Of Atp

2020 words - 9 pages

The Production and Functions of ATP

The basic process in which ATP is used involves an organic molecule
being phosphorylated by ATP, which produces an organic molecule with a
phosphate group, and reduces ATP to ADP. This phosphorylated molecule
becomes more reactive, thus lowering the activation energy needed for
reactions, mainly used when enzymes are involved. This overview should
demonstrate the importance of ATP- it allows living systems to convert
stored chemical energy to kinetic or heat energy quite efficiently,
resulting in the ability for homeostasis and skeletal movement among
other things.

There are two methods of ATP production, in ...view middle of the document...

This gives a net production of two ATP molecules. Overall the
reaction is an oxidation, in which two hydrogen atoms are given off.
These are used to reduce two molecules of NAD to NADH. This molecule,
nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, is used in the electron transport
chain in which its important function of carrying electrons helps for
the production of the bulk of the ATP. Incidentally, glycolysis in
aerobic respiration is basically the whole of anaerobic respiration.
Rather than the pyruvate being formed and passing into the
mitochondria, it is reduced further to lactate which is also an
oxidising reaction, allowing the NAD cycle to continue.

The next phase of ATP production is known as the link reaction. It is
so-called because it links the aerobic reaction to the anaerobic
reaction. In this reaction the two pyruvate molecules are oxidised to
reduce another two NAD molecules. The pyruvate molecules form acetate
(a two-carbon molecule) and also each gives off a carbon dioxide
molecule. Overall two NADH molecules and two carbon dioxide molecules
are produced with no ATP usage or production. The acetate molecules go
on to react with a further two molecules, known as 'coenzyme A'. The
result is a three-carbon molecule - acetyl coenzyme A.

Acetyl coenzyme A then enters the Krebs Cycle (still in the matrix of
the mitochondria). In essence this cycle is a series of oxidation
reactions in which there is a net production of 2ATP molecules, four
carbon dioxide molecules are released (two have already been released
from the link reaction), six NAD molecules are reduced and two FADH2
molecules are produced. FADH2 is very similar to NADH as it is just an
electron carrier used in the electron transport chain. It is important
to note here that overall twelve hydrogen atoms have been derived for
use in reduction. As there are only twelve in hydrogen atoms in
glucose, the sheer efficiency of this process can be appreciated as
the glucose molecule is oxidised to completion.

From the various reactions already described there are in total ten
NADH molecules produced and two FADH2 molecules produced. These
molecules diffuse towards the cristae of the mitochondria. The cristae
demonstrates the level of adaptation that mitochondria have. A popular
theory of the mitochondrial formation is that it first existed as a
bacterium that became symbiotic with another cell. This is supported
by the fact that there is no sequence in human (or any organism's) DNA
for the expression of mitochondria, the only way they are inherited
from parent to offspring is that they exist in the egg and become part
of the embryo. The theory of natural selection supports the
development of cristae becoming more and more tightly folded because
it increased the surface area for enzyme activity in the chain
reaction, thus...

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