Nucleotides consist of a purine or pyrimidine base linked to the five-carbon sugar ribose. The base plus sugar is a nucleoside; in a nucleotide the sugar is phosphorylated. Nucleotides may be mono-, di- or triphosphates.
Figure 3.1 shows the nucleotides formed from the purine adenine — the adenine nucleotides, adenosine monophosphate (AMP), adenosine diphosphate (ADP) and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) — as well as the nucleotide triphosphates formed from the purine guanine and the pyrimidine uracil (see also section 10.3.2 for a discussion of the role of cyclic AMP in metabolic regulation and hormone action).
In the nucleic acids (DNA and RNA; sections 9.2.1 and 9.2.2 respectively) it is the purine or pyrimidine that is important, carrying the genetic information. However, in the link between energy-yielding metabolism and the performance of physical and chemical work, what is important is the phosphorylation of the ribose. Although most reactions are linked to adenosine triphosphate, a small number are linked to guanosine triphosphate (GTP; see, for example, sections 5.7 and 22.214.171.124) or uridine triphosphate (UTP; section 5.5.3).
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