The pentose phosphate pathway converts the six carbon sugar, glucose 6-phosphate, into the five carbon sugar, ribose 5-phosphate, an important component of many biomolecules including ATP, NAD, CoA, DNA and RNA. In addition to serving as the primary source of ribose, the pentose phosphate pathway also serves as the primary source of the cell's supply of NADPH. Differing structurally from NADH by the presence of a single phosphate, NADPH serves a different set of enzymes as coenzyme. NADH drives the electron transport system in energy metabolism, while NADPH is the primary source of reducing equivalents in biosynthesis.
Conceptual Vocabulary for The Pentose Phosphate Pathway