AAT Bioquest

What are the differences between acetyl CoA and Acyl CoA?

Posted July 1, 2022


Acetyl CoA and acyl CoA are two types of coenzymes. Both have similar structures, are involved in fatty acid metabolism, and play key roles in energy production through catabolism. Despite these few similarities there are several differences between Acetyl CoA and Acyl CoA. 

Acetyl CoA

  • Acetyl CoA is an important molecule involved in the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids. 
  • It is the acetylated form of coenzyme A and is the major end-product of the oxidative decarboxylation of pyruvate in carbohydrate metabolism. 
  • Acetyl CoA is a type of acyl CoA. 
  • The R group is essentially a methyl group.

Acyl CoA

  • Acyl CoA refers to a group of coenzymes involved in the metabolism of fatty acids. 
  • It is produced during the fatty acid activation process, later entering into the mitochondria for β-oxidation of fatty acids. 
  • The R group is a side chain of fatty acids. 
  • The main function of acyl CoA is its degradation into acetyl CoA and a new fatty acid with two or fewer carbon molecules by a four-step cycle.  
Additional resources

Acetyl-CoA and the Regulation of Metabolism: Mechanisms and Consequences

Amplite® Fluorimetric Coenzyme A Quantitation Kit *Green Fluorescence*

Acetyl-CoA Carboxylase (Ab-80) Antibody