Synthesis of ATP

Synthesis of ATP

This animation shows how the proton gradient across the mitochondrial membrane powers the ATP synthase enzyme to make ATP. It is one of three animations about cellular respiration to be published by WEHI.TV in 2020. These animations bring to life the molecular engines inside mitochondria that generate ATP, the main source of chemically stored energy used throughout the body.

The electron transport chain (shown in the second animation) establishes a proton gradient across the inner mitochondrial membrane. ATP synthase uses the energy stored in the proton gradient to catalyze the synthesis of ATP. The molecular machinery involved in this process converts chemical energy to mechanical energy and provides a great example of the relationship between the structure and function of macromolecules.

Credit: Drew Berry and Justin Muir, WEHI.TV

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