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High energy phosphate

High energy phosphate can mean one of a couple things:

  • It can mean the compounds which contain these bonds, which include the nucleoside diphosphates and nucleoside triphosphates, and the high energy storage compounds of the muscle, the phosphagens. When people speak of a high energy phosphate pool, they speak of the total concentration of these compounds with these high energy bonds.

High energy phosphate bonds are pyrophosphate bonds, acid anhydride linkages, formed by taking phosphoric acid derivatives and dehydrating them. As a consequence, the hydrolysis of these bonds is exothermic under physiological conditions, releasing energy.

Energetic of High Energy Phosphate Reactions
ReactionΔ G in Kilojoules/mole
ATP + H2O → ADP + Pi -36.8
ADP + H2O → AMP + Pi -36.0
ATP + H2O → AMP + PPi -40.6
PPi → 2 Pi -31.8
AMP + H2O → A + Pi -12.6

These reactions are generally not allowed to go uncontrolled in the human cell, but generally are coupled to other processes needing energy to drive them to completion. So, high energy phosphate reactions can

  • provide energy to cellular processes, to allow them to run
  • by coupling processes to a particular nucleoside, allow for regulatory control of the process
  • drive the reaction to the right, by taking a reversible process and making it irreversible.

Often, high energy phosphate bonds are denoted by the character '~'. In this notation, ATP becomes A-P~P~P.

McGilvery, R. W. and Goldstein, G., Biochemistry - A Functional Approach, W. B. Saunders and Co, 1979, 345-351.

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