ATP Synthase: Definition, Structure & Function

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Basic Genetics: The Genome & Chromosomes

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:01 Definition
  • 0:52 Structure
  • 1:17 F sub 1 Complex
  • 1:56 F sub 0 Complex
  • 2:34 Function
  • 3:20 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Chinequa Shelander
ATP Synthase is one of the most important enzymes found in the mitochondria of cells. In this lesson, you'll learn about ATP Synthase structure and function. You'll have the opportunity to check your understanding with a quiz at the end of the lesson.

ATP Synthase - Definition

Have you ever wondered how your muscles move? Or how eating and drinking actually supplies energy for your body? Well, you will be able to answer all those questions by the end of this lesson. Let's begin with the meaning of ATP synthase. ATP synthase is an enzyme located in the mitochondria and chloroplasts (plant cells) that produces the energy 'currency' of the cell known as adenosine triphosphate (ATP).

ATP is used by most all living organisms, including you. That's right, your body is producing ATP right now. You have more than 15 trillion cells in your body and in each cell the ATP synthases (there are more than 1 in each cell) are making ATP about million ATP/minute. Yes, that's correct, a million a minute! That is a lot of energy!!!

ATP Synthase - Structure

The structure of ATP synthase is very interesting. Inside the mitochondria there are different layers, and the ATP synthase is found within the layer known as the inner mitochondrial membrane. The enzyme actually goes through the inner membrane. ATP synthase has two major components: F1 and F0. These components are complex, so we'll discuss each one in detail.

F1 Complex

The first major component of ATP synthase, known as F1 complex, has five major subunits. They are the alpha, beta, gamma, delta and epsilon subunits.

F1 is actually found in the matrix. Remember, mitochondria have many different layers. Those layers help get as many ATP synthase molecules into one mitochondrion as possible. It is very similar to folding your clothes in order to fit more into a drawer or suitcase. Imagine a motor spinning inside your cells to produce enough energy to help you move and do anything needed for survival. Well, F1 is like a motor that spins to help produce the ATP.

F0 Complex

The second component of ATP synthase, F0, is made of three subunits. No, these subunits are not named after Greek letters. They are a lot easier to remember: they are subunits a, b, and c. Humans have three additional subunits, d, e, and f. See, easy to remember.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account