Chapter

Inorganic Polyphosphates

Volume 23 of the series Progress in Molecular and Subcellular Biology pp 1-18

Inorganic Polyphosphate: A Molecule of Many Functions

  • A. KornbergAffiliated withDepartment of Biochemistry, Stanford University School of Medicine

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Abstract

Inorganic polyphosphate (polyP) is a linear polymer of many tens or hundreds of orthophosphate (Pi) residues linked by high-energy, phosphoanhydride bonds (Fig.1). PolyP is formed from P, by dehydration at an elevated temperature and was likely involved in prebiotic evoluton. Of greatest interest is that polyP is found in every living thing - bacteria, fungi, protozoa, plants and animals (Kulaev 1979; Wood and Clark 1988; Kornberg 1994). Yet, for lack of any known function, it was for a long time dismissed as a “molecular fossil” and is still ignored in all textbooks of biology, biochemistry and chemistry.