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Topic: ATP hydrolysis  (Read 10636 times)

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Offline xxabcxx

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ATP hydrolysis
« on: September 13, 2007, 05:41:51 PM »
ATP needs to be hydrolyzed in order for energy to be used in a metabolic pathway.  However, human body is mainly composed of water.  How can ATP prevent hydrolysis to occur to conserve energy? 

Offline Yggdrasil

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Re: ATP hydrolysis
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2007, 08:59:21 PM »
ATP is stable enough at physiological conditions that one does not have to worry about uncatalyzed hydrolysis.

Offline xxabcxx

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Re: ATP hydrolysis
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2007, 09:08:57 AM »
Then how is hexokinase in 1st step of glycolysis works to hydrolyze the ATP and transfer the phosphate onto the glucose?

Offline Yggdrasil

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Re: ATP hydrolysis
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2007, 01:02:27 PM »
The activation energy for the hydrolysis of the gamma phosphate of ATP is fairly high which prevents the hydrolysis from occurring while the ATP is just floating around in the cell.  So, while ATP may be thermodynamically unstable (i.e. it is a high energy compound), it is kinetically stable (the hydrolysis occurs at a very slow rate).  Hexokinase, however, can get around the kinetic stability of ATP by lowering the activation energy of the hydrolysis.  Hexokinase can do this because it is an enzyme, and all enzymes act as catalysts by lowering activation energies.

The sittuation can be likened to that of diamond.  Diamond is a thermodynamically unstable compound because graphite is the lowest energy form of carbon under standard temperatures and pressures.  However, one can say that "diamonds are forever" because diamonds are kinetically stable; the transition from diamond to graphite has such a large activation energy barrier that it occurs at a negligible rate.

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