About 15 years ago, Dr. Earl Sutherland and his associates, then at Western Reserve University, discovered a heat stable compound through which epinephrine regulates the breakdown of glycogen. Subsequently this compound was identified as cyclic adenosine 3′, 5′-monophosphate, referred to, generally, as cyclic AMP and written cAMP. This compound is similar to adenosine 3′-monophosphate (3' AMP) and the 5′-AMP nucleotides found universally in living organisms except for the fact that the phosphate group is linked differently to the ribose portion of the molecule. (Nucleotides consist of a pyrimidine or purine base—in this case adenine—linked to a five carbon sugar to which is attached one or more phosphate groups.) In the usual situation the phosphate group has a single bond with the sugar, but cAMP has a distinctive feature in that the phosphate group is doubled over on itself and attaches to two parts of the ribose molecule at
Kaplan SA. Cyclic AMP. Am J Dis Child. 1973;125(5):646–647. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1973.04160050008002
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