Articles, Blog

ATP: Adenosine Triphosphate

October 10, 2019

Hi. It’s Mr. Andersen and in
this video I’m going to talk about adenosine triphosphate. Otherwise known as ATP. ATP
is usually shown with this yellow starburst behind it. And that’s because it contains
energy. In fact it’s the energy coinage of all life on our planet. And most of you probably
know that but you might not know the structure of ATP. And so let’s begin with the adenine.
Adenine is a purine and it’s a nitrogenous base. That means that the black in going to
be carbon but the blue is going to be nitrogen. Where have we seen nitrogenous bases? Remember
that’s going to be the rungs found on the inside of DNA. We also have a ribose sugar.
And then we’re going to have not one phosphate group. Phosphate is phosphorus surrounded
by oxygen. But we’re going to have three phosphate groups. And so let’s start with the adenine
and the ribose. They’re attached together and they form a chemical called adenosine.
If we add a phosphate to that, we have AMP or adenosine monophosphate. If we were to
add another phosphate to that we’ve now got adenosine diphosphate or ADP. But if we add
that third phosphate we now have ATP, or adenosine triphosphate. Now these last phosphates are
important. In fact I like to think of the bond between these last two phosphates like
a spring. As we attach that last phosphate on, we’re storing energy. And so there’s potential
energy in that bond. There’s also going to be potential energy in this bond right here
as well. And so when we release that phosphate, we can release a little bit of energy. And
so let’s look at that. And so what is ATP? Here it is again? So we’ve got our adenine,
our ribose sugar. And then we have our three phosphates. But you can think of it like a
recharged battery. It’s a battery that’s charged up. It has a certain amount of potential energy.
In fact if we were to take ATP, which would just look like salt if you were to have it
in a solid form, and we were to add it to water, it would all hydrolyze. In other words
it would all breakdown into ADP. And so let’s look at what’s going on here. So if this is
water, that water will break this last phosphate group. In other words we’re going to add an
OH on one side and H on the other side. Remember we call that hydrolysis or breaking with water.
And we create ADP. Now we have just two phosphates here. Well what happens to that third phosphate?
It’s released. And so lots of times when you’re dealing with ATP you’re going to see this
P with a subscript of i. What does that stand for? That’s this phosphate group that’s been
given off. And since there is a certain amount of potential energy in this bond, when it’s
released that phosphate has a certain amount of potential energy as well. So in other words,
if we were to let ATP just sit in water, it would all eventually hydrolyze and it would
all become ADP and we’d have these loose phosphates. That’s going to be like a battery that’s lost
its charge. And so what do we do in life? Well in life we’re going to tap some energy.
And so we could do that in respiration by breaking down glucose. Or in photosynthesis
by taking in energy from the sun. And we’re going to attach that phosphate group again.
And that’s called a dehydration reaction. And so when we attach the phosphate we now
make ATP. When we break it then we’re going to release energy. And so let’s start by talking
about the building. And so when do we produce ATP? We’re going to do that in cellular respiration.
And so remember on the inside of that mitochondria we have these proteins called ATP synthase.
And what happens in all of respiration is we build up a gradient of protons on the outside
of that. And as they flow in, we make ATP. Now it’s worth pausing for just a moment and
talking about, you know, how does ATP know where to go. And how does ADP know where to
go? Well if you’re to think about it, let’s look right here. As we’re converting ADP and
a phosphate back into ATP, they’re disappearing. So you can think of in the mitochondria that’s
going to be the lowest amount of ADP and phosphate is going to be found right here. Why is that?
It’s because they’re going to be converted into ATP. Well where’s the ATP going to flow
from there? Well diffusion is going to move it from an area of high concentration to low.
And so it’s going to move wherever it’s used. Once it’s used, it converts back to ADP and
a phosphate. And that’s going to come right back here to the inside of the mitochondria.
Now remember plants are also going to produce ATP. They’re going to do it on the thylakoid
membrane which is going to be this membrane right here on the inside of the chloroplast.
What are they using to make ATP? They’re using light, energy of light to do that. How is
this different than the mitochondria? Remember the phosphates or excuse me, the hydrogen
protons are going to be on the inside of the thylakoid membrane. As they flow out that’s
going to make ATP. What do we use that for in plants? Remember out here in the Calvin
Cycle we’re going to use that to make sugars. Now plants also have mitochondria so they
can break down that sugar and make ATP. And so that’s how we’re producing it. What does
it do though? Once we release that phosphate, what is it used for? Well let me give you
three good ways that it’s used. So if we release that phosphate it can be used in active transport.
And so this right here is the sodium potassium pump. This is going to be found on most of
the cells in your body. But it’s especially important in the neurons of your body because
you maintain this gradient and that’s how nerves actually work or impulses work. And
so let’s watch what’s going on. We have ATP right here. It’s going to give up that phosphate.
And that phosphate is going to bind to this sodium potassium pump. As it does that, it’s
going to use the energy of that phosphate to pump three sodium ions out. We’re then
going to have two potassium ions that will bind to the inside of that pump and that’s
going to flow to the inside as we release that phosphate. So again, what are we using?
We’re using active transport to pump sodium out and potassium in. How much of your energy
right now is going to that? About 20% of the energy in your body right now is going to
ATP which is running the sodium potassium pump and keeping all of those neurons working.
So it’s really important. How else do we use ATP? Well when we release that phosphate our
muscles move using ATP. And so what’s going to happen is the phosphate will bind to this
myosin The myosin is going to be a protein and it will attract that to an actin and it’s
going to cause your muscle to contract. And so your muscles contract using this phosphate
that is released from ADP. What do we have to do with that phosphate in ADP? Again, we
have to regenerate ATP so that we can do this again. Where else do we have this? Well in
the formation of polymers. And so when we’re building polymers the easiest way to do that
is to add a phosphate. And so let me kind of show you where we’re at. This is tRNA.
Remember tRNA is going to transfer the amino acid to the ribosome. And it’s going to build
proteins. And so how does that work? First thing is we’re going to have ATP and that’s
going to bind to the enzyme. And then it’s going to allow us to attach that amino acid
on to the tRNA. And so we can build big polymers like that. In fact, RNA is built using ATP.
What does that mean? Well let’s go to it. ATP is old school. What does that mean? It’s
been around from the beginning of time. It was used by LUCA. LUCA remember is the Last
Universal Common Ancestor. In other words that is the ancestor of all cells on our planet.
And so this is a phylogenetic tree of all life on our planet. We would have us, eukaryotes
over here. We have archaea. And then all of this is bacteria. But scientists believe that
that first ancestor of all life had a few properties. Number one they used ATP. They
had RNA and DNA. They had the ability to use glucose. They used proteins, ribosomes, membranes
and ion channels. And so let’s say that LUCA kind of looked like this. It’s a simplified
cell. Well how did scientists come up with this? Why is it that this cell had to have
all of those things? Well that’s because those things are found in all cells on our planet.
Not only us, but it’s going to be found in prokaryotic cells and archaea. So we know
that that first organism had that and used ATP for its energy. And that’s because it’s
found in all cells. And so ATP has been there from the beginning. But let’s look at how
prevalent ATP is in these other molecules. And so let’s look at RNA. So what’s RNA. Remember
it’s going to be kind of the worker of DNA. But let’s look right here into one of these
nucleotides inside RNA. What do we find? Well we find adenine. We find a ribose sugar. And
then we have a phosphate. Well what does that look like? That looks like ATP. Except only
one phosphate instead of two. And so when I said we’re building RNA, we really are building
that using ATP. And you can see how cool that is. That the ATP, the energy that we use or
the molecule that we use for energy was also a part of that first genetic code. And so
it was kind os co-opted for two uses. Let’s look at DNA. DNA also has this adenine. It
has a deoxy sugar. And there’s an enzyme that’s actually going to switch that. But it’s also
really close in structure to ATP. All cells use glucose. What do we use glucose to do?
Remember we’re going to breakdown glucose in the mitochondria. And we’re going to make
ATP. All life is built of proteins and ribosomes do that. Well, how do we do that? Remember
it’s going to be ATP that’s binding those amino acids on to the tRNA so that we can
build them inside the ribosome. And remember all cells are also going to have membranes
and use ion channels. Well if you look at it, that ion channel like that sodium potassium
pump uses ATP. And if you were to look even in the phospholipids that make up the membrane,
what do we find right here in the middle? We find that phosphate group. And so ATP has
been around forever. It’s used by all of life. It’s pretty simple. Just add a little bit
of energy to ADP and you’ve got ATP. If you release that energy, give off a phosphate
you can do work. So that’s ATP. And I hope that was helpful.

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  • Reply Marco Duarte October 30, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    Thanks bruhh

  • Reply David Becker November 7, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    Thank you bro, loved you in the matrix

  • Reply Scott Liu November 13, 2014 at 7:24 am

    This guy sounds hilarious when you put the speed to 0.5, he sounds like he's drunk.

  • Reply disneype December 6, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    Thank you very much, I like your style of teaching.

  • Reply Melinda Green December 8, 2014 at 11:58 am

    Nice and clear description but what I'm most curious is exactly how the release of a phosphate performs work. I imagine the phosphate is shot off and can push on other stuff, but I have trouble imagining how that works. I mean ATP is used for so many uses that there must be some essential mechanism that they all share and I would love to understand that.

  • Reply Patrick Hearne January 15, 2015 at 2:03 am

    Chemistry and biology. Soft science. 🙂

  • Reply Ashley M January 27, 2015 at 1:41 am


  • Reply Yassinius February 5, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    9:36  wat

  • Reply philly phan February 28, 2015 at 3:52 am

    This guy has his teaching chops down. So much easier to understand after watching this.

  • Reply Lauren Byron March 29, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    I love you.

  • Reply badro antiworld20xx May 24, 2015 at 1:58 am

    how great is the creator of universe ( god )

  • Reply w000w00t June 9, 2015 at 7:40 pm

    I just don't see how ATP knows what's useful to devote energy to instead of going nuts on anything.  It seems to violate the laws of entropy and chaos…  What's to distinguish a phosphate shooting off from any other form of thermal energy??

  • Reply iClone Animations June 15, 2015 at 3:49 pm

    lol wtf happened at 9:36   robot voice "ADP"

  • Reply Lokha Anand July 25, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    what kind of foods increase the production atp in human body and thanks

  • Reply meghana jain July 26, 2015 at 3:51 am

    too good 🙂

  • Reply nooreddine bachraoui August 28, 2015 at 9:09 am

    a have many questions …………….bozeman science

  • Reply Margarita Radford September 18, 2015 at 4:29 pm

    yaaassssssss 👍👍👍👍 this just made me excited about biology for the first time! 😂😂😂

  • Reply Stillnotginger z September 30, 2015 at 2:33 am


  • Reply Assassin Aquilus September 30, 2015 at 2:37 am

    what must be added to ADP to form ATP?

  • Reply oloojunior ondago October 13, 2015 at 4:39 am

    Very simple and easy to understand.

  • Reply Katie Grainger October 14, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    Really useful for the new OCR Biology spec – thank you

  • Reply ID Rashed October 15, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    ياسلااااااام وفي ترجمه عربي كمان
    بالتوفيق للجميع 🙂

  • Reply Hendwaheed October 17, 2015 at 4:28 pm


  • Reply Little Habits. November 9, 2015 at 1:10 am

    The spring analogy of the last 2 phosphates was a home run for me. I finally grasp a deeper meaning of ATP and how it works…

  • Reply Chloe Fleming November 10, 2015 at 2:08 am

    This makes so much sense 😍

  • Reply Abdullah November 22, 2015 at 7:45 pm

    Thank You .

  • Reply Dennis Anthony December 6, 2015 at 11:03 pm

    thank you

  • Reply Danny Wilson January 7, 2016 at 11:03 am

    Very interesting and fills a few gaps in my understanding. Thank you for the video

  • Reply Avizoon January 12, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    Could you please explain the relationship between adenosine triphosphate and adenosylcobalamin please?

  • Reply zafar iqbal January 13, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    Good Job Sir….GREAT…..:)

  • Reply Angelee Judd January 19, 2016 at 12:12 am

    This is random but could you please let me know what program you use to make your videos? Do you video your computer screen or do you have a tablet that you record?

  • Reply Sohrab Nazari January 25, 2016 at 10:12 pm

    Who else is here because of miss Goubert?

  • Reply Gabriela Radu February 4, 2016 at 9:02 pm

    As a student (Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Medicine and Pharmacy "Carol Davila", Bucharest, Romania) in need of understanding these mechanisms easily, because I postponed studying them for so long, mostly because they're teaching us in such a manner that we cannot get more bored, I want to thank you sir for your videos. You've made my life easier. Biochemistry is killing us. You are, literally, a blessing. Thank you!

  • Reply Robert Deloyd February 15, 2016 at 10:32 am

    yes this video was very helpful 🙂

  • Reply Haseeba Haseeba February 20, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    Thank you so much, your videos are helpful, your student are lucky 🙂

  • Reply G8rboi 45 February 23, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    Mr. anderson you need to come with me

  • Reply Bernadette Davis March 14, 2016 at 1:55 pm


  • Reply oatycookieori April 11, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    Thank you, this has been really helpful and was just what i was looking for <3

  • Reply ollierkul April 30, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    Totally saved me for my oral exam, thanks.

  • Reply aiyanna peoples June 8, 2016 at 11:08 pm

    Does anyone know what causes low ATP? my dog's ATP level was very low…

  • Reply Clay Jones July 4, 2016 at 2:31 am

    What was the mechanism by which the LUCA manufactured ATP, and why would there be such a mechanism?

  • Reply KungFu909 July 14, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    Is it possible to mass produce ATP and use it as food pills?

  • Reply golden boy September 30, 2016 at 6:03 pm

    long life for ms Andersen !! thank you.

  • Reply Alvaro Sarria October 9, 2016 at 4:05 am

    9:36, did the voice go robotic?

  • Reply Alvaro Sarria October 9, 2016 at 4:06 am

    im gonna fail this class so hard

  • Reply Jake Atherly October 12, 2016 at 3:24 am

    What happen's if I drink an ATP shake?

  • Reply Joyce Williams November 12, 2016 at 9:37 pm

    You had me until you went all LUCA. Why did you feel the need to go LUCA? It was not necessary. Science is science we do not need to deny the existence of a Creator in order to see how a cell works. Too bad so many people are focused on the propaganda of atheism instead of just focusing on science.

  • Reply buenexito November 14, 2016 at 12:38 am

    Muchas gracias por su vídeo. ¿Por qué no existen otras moléculas formadas también de un nucleótido del ARN con dos fosfato mas?…me explico, ¿podría existir la CTP, la GTP o UTP y hacer el mismo trabajo del ATP?

    Thank you very much for your video. Why are not there other molecules also formed of a nucleotide RNA with two phosphate mas? … I explained, there could be CTP, GTP or UTP instead of ATP, and do the same work as ATP?

  • Reply Edward Hahn December 3, 2016 at 8:51 am

    Mr Andersen…this must be for an elementary class.

  • Reply Edward Hahn December 3, 2016 at 8:56 am

    Why do you keep asking and answering questions? Just provide the information.

  • Reply Edward Hahn December 3, 2016 at 9:01 am

    Very good, except the questions->answers is so annoying. Make another without the Q->A formating.

  • Reply Edward Hahn December 4, 2016 at 8:16 pm

    Really, outstanding presentation. Very nice.

  • Reply Steven Nyeo December 16, 2016 at 5:14 am

    8:24 One phosphate instead of three?

  • Reply Sanny bro February 18, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    Thanks for your liberation

  • Reply sabrina run February 20, 2017 at 1:45 am

    Thanks for sharing this video. I am indeed appreciating your description of the main three parts. I need to know some information about it due to the process of my project of Adenosine Triphosphate analysis. More detailed information can be found in Creative Proteomics.

  • Reply MangaStranger Yoh March 1, 2017 at 2:48 am

    Honestly so much more helpful then some of my teachers(gr 12)

  • Reply Сергей Евгеньевич March 30, 2017 at 9:16 am

    Singlet Oxygen Therapy – The best of the best : Vital Air 5+ device (Germany) !

  • Reply Kevin Feng May 8, 2017 at 12:15 am


  • Reply Miss aMANduh! May 29, 2017 at 7:02 pm

    really helpful how you explain the process.

  • Reply Zes June 5, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    wrg, not, start with any or talk anyx, no such thing as worth pausix or talkingx or not worth pausix or talkinx or starx

  • Reply Zachrey Helmberger June 26, 2017 at 4:26 am

    RNA and DNA are essentially made of ATP or AMP! is really cool. But how exactly does the ATP make the Na/K pump work? Is it some kind of mechanical force?

  • Reply flukeseawalker August 5, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    In simple terms, ATP is like the spark plug of a car engine. It's small amount of energy fires allowing the double bonding of oxygen and carbon occur, thereby releasing much more energy.

  • Reply Elijah Banda October 7, 2017 at 8:16 am

    as a student i say that his the best

  • Reply Vicky Gil October 11, 2017 at 1:24 am

    I love how you explain everything, you make it easy to understand. Thanks!!

  • Reply Mian Arshad October 12, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    Please convert video into Urdu

  • Reply Jeems November 1, 2017 at 4:27 am

    Best videos on YouTube. Plz keep up the awesome work.

  • Reply Eric Avery November 7, 2017 at 12:10 pm

    In the beginning, there was intelligent information – design? designer?

  • Reply Coln Minato November 29, 2017 at 9:07 pm

    Does cell use ADP sometime? Or they only use ATP

  • Reply mochi koo January 16, 2018 at 4:57 pm

    This could probably be my first comment on YouTube.. ever since I started knowing YouTube in 2007.. amazing video amazing explanation

  • Reply nkhan247 February 20, 2018 at 5:51 pm


  • Reply Richard Thomson February 24, 2018 at 10:08 am

    What is the form of the energy produced in ATP hydrolysis? Is it infra red or heat, kinetic, electromagnetic(other frequencies) electrostatic? What is the mechanical process by which it moves ions against an electrochemical gradient?

  • Reply Big Mac King March 9, 2018 at 2:50 pm

    water is wet

  • Reply ŻÕRRÕ March 20, 2018 at 7:58 pm

    حلو .. واجد حلو

  • Reply Llavez Estravez March 30, 2018 at 12:28 am

    Will fill out transltn form in about 1 mnth and a half cuz hopefully Gd frst will have my own place and time to help out a little. Thank u for these videos. Thank you for sharing and spreading knowledge.

  • Reply Lucas Montiel April 10, 2018 at 4:08 pm

    Sick name for a band. ATP

  • Reply Anand Sunku June 23, 2018 at 11:00 pm

    How much ATP is spent during action potential?

  • Reply Unknownymous August 28, 2018 at 10:21 am

    Thanks. U amd ur vid is a lifesaver. Bc of this, I was able to report our lesson :))

  • Reply Tabassum esad esuu neha September 3, 2018 at 5:47 am

    I am a Bangladeshi girl, hello sir!!!

  • Reply Caleb Bazini-Barakat October 14, 2018 at 10:14 pm

    China #1

  • Reply RUMPLED BAG October 26, 2018 at 8:39 pm


  • Reply The Daily Digestion November 9, 2018 at 5:26 am

    Thank you! Best explanation of this process I have ever heard! Thank you

  • Reply Bradley Whiteway November 18, 2018 at 9:27 pm

    Love the hair cut

  • Reply Baba Leaf December 20, 2018 at 8:35 am

    So is it better to take and ATP supplements or an ADP supplement? Since the last sentence you said was add energy to adp to produce atp..

  • Reply Damian Cirelli January 14, 2019 at 5:34 pm

    The hydrolysis of ATP in water is pH-dependent, so at physiological pH it does not spontaneously break down. Otherwise we would all be spontaneously combusting.

  • Reply Thanh Pham January 26, 2019 at 5:14 am

    Năng lượng của tế bào( cell ) là điện electron — , điện electron — phóng vào điện positron đã sinh ra photon ( điện ánh sáng mặt trời ). Lá cây bắt giữ điện 1 electron — liên kết với 2 positron + = 1 proton +

    Lá cây bắt giữ điện 1 electron — liên kết với 1 proton + = 1 hiđrô là tạo hiđrô cho tinh bột gạo rồi, vì trong tinh bột gạo có 10 hiđrô mà ………….

  • Reply Muhammad Akbar Khan April 15, 2019 at 4:43 pm

    Is ATP a macromolecule???
    If it is then
    Why it is so????

  • Reply Jiji Math May 18, 2019 at 4:12 pm

    My teacher keeps telling me to watch this so I did

  • Reply Lol oo June 14, 2019 at 5:15 am


  • Reply zack fair June 16, 2019 at 12:41 pm

    Very helpfull video thanks sir

  • Reply Baseer Khan July 14, 2019 at 4:44 pm

    Nice video sir liked from pakistan

  • Reply rubiks6 July 24, 2019 at 3:40 pm

    You're talking science fine, and then, out of the blue, you go off the deep end (6:55) and start talking about LUCA which has no basis in science whatsoever and has nothing to do with how ATP operates. Everything you wanted to teach about ATP could have been expressed without reference to imaginary LUCA. A phylogenetic tree (7:10) has no bearing on how ATP functions. Why do you feel the need to introduce this controversial idea into a discussion of empirical science? What is known about ATP has been learned in laboratories using observable, measurable, repeatable experiments. Nothing about a conjectured LUCA is observable, measurable, repeatable.

    Abiogenesis is impossible. Life only comes from life.

  • Reply Nelson Caldeira August 21, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    This guy is a beast

  • Reply Michael Bryan Lao August 30, 2019 at 6:18 am

    im with you all the way Doc except on LUCA . . .

  • Reply patrice CRUAU September 27, 2019 at 5:37 am

    De la Médecine sur YouTube! Qui l'eût cru?

  • Reply lil_buc24 October 4, 2019 at 2:28 pm

    This video is so useful

  • Reply Luis Aguirre October 4, 2019 at 2:28 pm

    ATP is really interesting

  • Reply Dalton Smith_YT October 4, 2019 at 2:29 pm

    This video is useful

  • Reply Ayden Valadez October 4, 2019 at 2:29 pm

    Phosphate is phosphorus surrounded by oxygen

  • Reply charlotte tompkins October 4, 2019 at 2:48 pm

    This is great and extremely helpful

  • Reply Sfj _toph October 6, 2019 at 11:14 pm

    so is hydrolysis the same as dephosphorylation and the dehydration reaction the same as phosphorylation?

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