By marcel florkin

ISBN-10: 0123955467

ISBN-13: 9780123955463

ISBN-10: 0323143784

ISBN-13: 9780323143783

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Example text

In the field of metabolism it plays a very special role. Here its reversible deamination is of great significance. This mechanism is one of the ways for the conversion of ammonia to NH 2 groups as well as the reverse reaction. The corresponding enzyme, L-glutamic acid dehydrogenase, has been demonstrated in plants, animals, and microorganisms (13, 62, 180). Glutamic acid takes part in a whole series of important reactions and serves as precursor in the biosynthesis of various compounds. Thus the formation of amino acids through transamination involving glutamic acid is widespread (479).

The last step in this reaction, the reversible methylation of homocysteine, is of great metabolic and physiologic importance, since it makes possible the transfer of methyl groups (transmethylation). In this connection a methionine derivative, S-adenosylmethionine, has attained special importance. The formation of this compound has been demonstrated in microorganisms, animals, and also higher plants (518). 25 1. AMINO ACIDS Accumulation of S-adenosylmethionine has been observed in the vacuoles of Candida utilis (696).

Thereafter, investigations on other microorganisms, animal tissues, and higher plants revealed the close genetic relationship between these two compounds. Moreover, the inter­ mediary product in this reaction, glutamic acid semialdehyde, in the form of its N-acetyl derivative, can serve in the microorganism as pre­ cursor for ornithine, so that this amino acid also is closely linked to glutamic acid (786). Apart from this, glutamic acid is the building block of a series of interesting compounds such as folic acid derivatives, "strepogenin" pep­ tides, and glutathione.

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Comparative Biochemistry. A Comprehensive Treatise by marcel florkin

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