Alanine

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258 ºC subl.

Alanine (abbreviated as Ala or A)[2] is an α-amino acid with the chemical formula CH3CH(NH2)COOH. The L-isomer is one of the 22 proteinogenic amino acids, i.e., the building blocks of proteins. Its codons are GCU, GCC, GCA, and GCG. It is classified as a nonpolar amino acid. L-Alanine is second only to leucine in rate of occurrence, accounting for 7.8% of the primary structure in a sample of 1,150 proteins.[3] D-Alanine occurs in bacterial cell walls and in some peptide antibiotics.

Contents

Structure

The α-carbon atom of alanine is bound with a methyl group (-CH3), making it one of the simplest α-amino acids with respect to molecular structure and also resulting in alanine's being classified as an aliphatic amino acid. The methyl group of alanine is non-reactive and is thus almost never directly involved in protein function.

Sources

Dietary sources

Alanine is a nonessential amino acid, meaning it can be manufactured by the human body, and does not need to be obtained directly through the diet. Alanine is found in a wide variety of foods, but is particularly concentrated in meats.

Good sources of alanine include

  • Animal sources: meat, seafood, caseinate, dairy products, eggs, fish, gelatin, lactalbumin
  • Vegetarian sources: beans, nuts, seeds, soy, whey, brewer's yeast, brown rice, bran, corn, legumes, whole grains.

Biosynthesis

Alanine can be manufactured in the body from pyruvate and branched chain amino acids such as valine, leucine, and isoleucine.

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