Adenine

Adenine is one of the most important organic molecules for life as we know it today.

Adenine, which has the chemical structure :


is an integral part of DNA, RNA, and ATP. DNA, as you might know, is the genetic code used for cellular life on earth. It is through the precise inheritance of on organism's DNA from its parent that the traits of an organism are passed on. Here is the partial structure of DNA with an Adenine group attached.

(diagram)

Adenine is a purine. Purines are six-membered rings attached to five membered rings. When Adenine is attached to DNA, it forms a bond with another molecule called Thymine, a pyrimidine, on the other side of the DNA strand. It is these bonds which give DNA its double-helix structure. The sequence of DNA, or the order in which nucleotides are placed, allows for the diversity among all living organisms. The importance of Adenine to RNA is similar to that of DNA.

Besides DNA and RNA, Adenine is also an important part of adenosine triphosphate, or ATP. Adenosine triphosphate is the nitrogenous base adenine bonded to a five carbon sugar. This molecule is important because it has the ability to phosphorylize, or add a phosphate group to, other molecules. This transfer of a phosphate group allows energy to be released. It is this energy which is used by cells in living organisms. This is why the molecules ATP, and its nitrogenous base Adenine, are so important.

(diagram of ATP)