Intracellular ATP Concentration and Implication for Cellular Evolution

Date Published:

2021 Nov 12


Crystalline lens and striated muscle exist at opposite ends of the metabolic spectrum. Lens is a metabolically quiescent tissue, whereas striated muscle is a mechanically dynamic tissue with high-energy requirements, yet both tissues contain millimolar levels of ATP (>2.3 mM), far exceeding their underlying metabolic needs. We explored intracellular concentrations of ATP across multiple cells, tissues, species, and domains to provide context for interpreting lens/striated muscle data. Our database revealed that high intracellular ATP concentrations are ubiquitous across diverse life forms including species existing from the Precambrian Era, suggesting an ancient highly conserved role for ATP, independent of its widely accepted view as primarily "metabolic currency". Our findings reinforce suggestions that the primordial function of ATP was non-metabolic in nature, serving instead to prevent protein aggregation.

Last updated on 12/02/2021