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Coenzyme A (CoA, CoASH, or HSCoA) is a coenzyme, notable for its role in the synthesis and oxidation of fatty acids, and the oxidation ofpyruvate in the citric acid cycle. All genomes sequenced to date encode enzymes that use coenzyme A as a substrate, and around 4% of cellular enzymes use it (or a thioester, such as acetyl-CoA) as a substrate. In humans, CoA biosynthesis requires cysteamine, pantothenate, andadenosine triphosphate (ATP).
Since coenzyme A is, in chemical terms, a thiol, it can react with carboxylic acids to form thioesters, thus functioning as an acyl group carrier. It assists in transferring fatty acids from the cytoplasm to mitochondria. A molecule of coenzyme A carrying an acetyl group is also referred to as acetyl-CoA. When it is not attached to an acyl group, it is usually referred to as 'CoASH' or 'HSCoA'.
Coenzyme A is also the source of the phosphopantetheine group that is added as a prosthetic group to proteins such as acyl carrier protein and formyltetrahydrofolate dehydrogenase.