A Wheel Invented Billions Of Years Ago Makes ATP (Your Key Energy Currency)

Hi folks, welcome!

This post might seem a little dry, but it isn’t. It’s about magic!!!

I was looking at my PowerCranks today, and then I started to think about the wheel and its many uses, which took me immediately to adenosine triphosphate (ATP) synthase. I have always been amazed that a molecular wheel, spinning at about 650 revolutions per second, helps to manufacture ATP, which is critical for our entire energy generation system. This magical molecular machine was first created in the outer membranes of bacteria to pump protons (acid) out into the environment as a defense mechanism, using energy supplied as ATP. Our mitochondria, which evolved from bacteria, then took this molecular machinery and applied it in reverse to create ATP for other uses.

Your food is converted to molecules that can be burned with oxygen, in a highly controlled manner, to yield energy in the form of an electrochemical gradient, with protons (hydrogen ions) accumulating on one side of a membrane (the outer side of the inner mitochondrial membrane), and as they return down their concentration gradient back into the mitochondria they pass through a protein complex, ATP synthase (meaning enzyme which synthesizes or makes ATP), to generate ATP. If this subject interests you, watch this video, which explains the process in detail. This is how you live, swim, bike and run, and do anything else for that matter, because of a wheel invented back in the mists of time.

The rate of the revolution of the central, spinning protein complex has now been directly visualized using tiny beads. The fact that humans can do such things is almost as amazing as the enzyme itself.


-k @FitOldDog



  1. Wow

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.