A three-carbon phosphorylated sugar. Two commonly occurring triose phosphates are glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate and dihydroxyacetone phosphate (DHAP), which are both intermediates in the synthesis and breakdown of glucose. In glycolysis the triose phosphates are formed by the splitting of fructose bisphosphate, while in glucose synthesis they are formed from phosphoglyceroyl phosphate. Interconversion of these two triose phosphates is catalysed by the enzyme triose phosphate isomerase.
Triose phosphates are important in other metabolic processes. Glycerol is formed from DHAP, and glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate is an intermediate in the pentose phosphate pathway.