ATP is the abbreviated term used to refer to a chemical called adenosine triphosphate.

ATP consists of adenosine and three phosphate groups. It is called triphosphate because of it includes three phosphate groups and has the chemical formula: C10H8N4O2NH2(OH)2(PO3H)3H .


ATP plays an important role in muscle actions (contraction and relaxation), as follows:

The myosin heads (within the thick filaments) include an enzyme called ATPase that splits ATP into ADP (adenosine diphosphate) and a phosphate group.

That is:

ATP_-->_ Adenosine diphosphate (ADP) + energy + inorganic Phosphate

Very many molecules of ATP are split in this way with every movement of every muscle. ATP cannot be stored, but is used as it is produced by the body. Each ATP molecule is recycled 2000 to 3000 times during a single day.

The opposite to the above process is:

Adenosine diphosphate (ADP) + inorganic Phosphate + energy _-->_ ATP

This section consists of short summaries about the structures that form the muscles of the body. This list is not exhaustive but is intended to be appropriate for students of A-Level Human Biology, ITEC courses in massage and related subjects, and other courses in health sciences. For more general information about muscles see the pages about:

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