Coenzyme A

Coenzyme A which is usually abbreviated to CoA, CoASH or HSCoA is one of the fundamental molecules in cell and general energy metabolism.

This coenzyme arises from the synthesis of ATP. It is integral in the use of pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5) in general metabolism. Whilst it is involved in various metabolic pathways, the key ones are the oxidation of fatty acids (beta-oxidation) and the Krebs cycle. About 4% of all enzymatic reactions in the cell use this molecule as coenzyme.

Its role is in the transfer of acyl groups in the form of high-energy thioesters. In most cases, coenzyme A transfers the acetyl group and is then called acetyl coenzyme A (Acetyl-CoA). Free Coenzyme A, which does not carry any acyl group, is designated as CoASH, to indicate that the -SH group is free for further reactions.

Coenzyme A was first isolated in 1951 by the German biochemist Feodor Lynen of yeast cells, who later received the Nobel Prize. A detailed molecular structure was explained two years later by British scientist James Baddiley of the Institute of Lister for Preventive Medicine and the American scientist of German origin, Fritz Albert Lipmann of the University of Harvard.

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