Comments on the nomenclature of phosphorus-containing compounds

From the Newsletter 1980 [1]

A document on this subject was published in 1977 [Compendium, pp. 203-211; see also Eur. J. Biochem. 79 (1977) 1-9, see also ref 2]. Its recommendations included confirmation of those of 1965 [Compendium, pp. 52-56; see also Eur. J. Biochem. 1 (1967) 259-266] for:

a) differentiating 'bisphosphate', as in fructose 1,6-bisphosphate, for two phosphate groups, from 'diphosphate', as in adenosine diphosphate, for a single group derived from diphosphoric acid;

b) the use of the symbol -P joined to one other symbol for the phospho group -PO3H2 and its ionized forms (e.g. Ac-O-P or AcOP for acetyl phosphate);

c) the use of the symbol P joined to two other symbols for the -PO(OH)-group and its ionized form, so that the diphosphate group becomes -POP, which may be condensed to -PP if unambiguous.

On reconsideration, the committees wish to add the following alternatives for the compounds in Table 8:

adenosine 5'-a,b-m-methylenetriphosphate, or AdoP[CH2]PP
adenosine 5'-b,g-m-imidotriphosphate, or AdoPP[NH]P
and to substitute the following name:

adenosine 5'-g-thiotriphosphate, or AdoPPP[S].
The first two of these changes apply the inorganic chemists' convention (IUPAC Nomenclature of Inorganic Chemistry, 1970, Rule 7.61, see also ref 3) of m for bridging groups. This seems less likely to be misunderstood than the use of the square brackets, where these had the complex task of representing in the name (as they still do in the symbol) the removal of the bridging oxygen as well as the presence of the group named.

The 'Compendium', mentioned above is the first edition of Biochemical nomenclature and related documents, The Biochemical Society, London 1978.

1. IUPAC-IUB Joint Commission on Biochemical Nomenclature (JCBN), and Nomenclature Commission of IUB (NC-IUB),.Newsletter 1980, Eur. J. Biochem., 1980, 104, 321-322; Hoppe-Seyler's Z. Physiol. Chem., 1980, 361, I-IV.

2. IUPAC-IUB Commission on Biochemical Nomenclature (CBN), Nomenclature of phosphorus-containing compounds of biochemical importance (1976), Biochem. J., 1978, 171, 1-19; Eur. J. Biochem., 1977, 79, 1-9; Hoppe-Seyler's Z. Physiol. Chem., 1977, 358, 599-616; Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA, 1977, 74, 2222-2230; Biochemical Nomenclature and Related Documents, 2nd edition, Portland Press, 1992, pages 256-264.

3. IUPAC Nomenclature of Inorganic Chemistry, Recommendations 1990, Blackwell Scientific Publications, 1990. Edited by G J Leigh. I-4.5.3 and I-10.8.2


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