Acetyl coenzyme A or acetyl-CoA is an important molecule in metabolism, used in many biochemical reactions. Its main function is to convey the carbon atoms within the acetyl group to the citric acid cycle (Krebs cycle) to be oxidized for energy production. In chemical structure, acetyl-CoA is the thioester between coenzyme A (a thiol) and acetic acid (an acyl group carrier). Acetyl-CoA is produced during the second step of aerobic cellular respiration, pyruvate decarboxylation, which occurs in the matrix of the mitochondria. Acetyl-CoA then enters the citric acid cycle.
Acetyl-CoA is also an important component in the biogenic synthesis of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Choline, in combination with acetyl-CoA, is catalyzed by the enzyme choline acetyltransferase to produce acetylcholine and a coenzyme a byproduct.
Konrad Bloch and Feodor Lynen were awarded the 1964 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for their discoveries linking acetyl-CoA and fatty acid metabolism.
Read more about Acetyl-CoA: Interactive Pathway Map