Minor flavour suggestion for the naming of ATP

Long-time member here, thought I’d make an account on this forum, seeing as the old one is defunct.

A very small thing, but I think that your cell’s energy levels shouldn’t be referred to as ATP in-game. The problem with this nomenclature is that ATP is far from the only molecule that is viable as an energy carrier within a cell. Even in Earth-based cells, there’s plenty of other energy carriers (GTP, NADH, to name a few) that are merely less common due to being utilized only in very specific reaction chains, rather than being all-purpose like ATP. As far as I know, these other molecules, especially the triphosphate-using ones, are not inherently inferior for energy transport. There was, more than likely, a very healthy dose of chance in the evolutionary ‘decision’ for ATP to be used as the primary energy carrier in the cell. On an alien planet, there’s no reason to assume that ATP is bound to be the energy carrier of choice.

Therefore, I propose two potential ‘solutions’ to this admittedly minor issue:

  1. Simply rename ATP to ‘energy’

  2. Potentially more interesting, have a table of potential energy-carrier molecules and roll a dice at the generation of a new world to see which one is utilized. ATP, GTP, CTP, UTP and dTTP would have the highest chances of appearing, but more rarely, other purines/pyramidines could be used for the first letters.

Just my .02$

1 Like

A fair point, I think. After all, the game already has “oxytoxy” and vague “phosphates”, so renaming that to energy seems within the scope of the existing names.

1 Like

Are the other energy carriers used in the same processes? Right now the processes are at least kinda scientific (they used to be more accurate to chemical formulas but I think they got balanced out of that).

I don’t like just calling it “energy” with ATP we might actually manage to teach people that cells use ATP.

GTP is used in the citric acid cycle, at the very least. It makes appearances in other, more niché pathways as well. I think that CTP and the other energy carriers I mentioned also have some use in some very specific, minor pathways. They contain more or less the same amount of energy as ATP in their phosphate bond, but as far as I know, it’s more or less a fluke that ATP ended up as the main energy carrier in cells, while the rest went on to become signaling molecules.

I can see your point about having ATP as the value being educational. However, as far as I know, this in itself is an abstraction/simplification. ATP is the primary ‘energy currency’ in a cell, but it’s not the end-all-be-all. Just off the top of my head, NADH, NADPH and FADH are also ‘energy carriers’, in a way, but they occupy distinct places in the cell’s metabolism (NADH for reducing other molecules, for example). ATP is the most general-use energy carrier, but the others aren’t exactly insignificant, quantitatively, either.

(However, NADH itself and the like would not actually be good general-purpose energy carriers unless you’re dealing with a significantly different biochemistry. GTP, CTP, etc. however could fill ATP’s role just as well as ATP itself.)

1 Like