Arginine

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Arginine (abbreviated as Arg or R)[1] is an α-amino acid. The L-form is one of the 20 most common natural amino acids. At the level of molecular genetics, in the structure of the messenger ribonucleic acid mRNA, CGU, CGC, CGA, CGG, AGA, and AGG, are the triplets of nucleotide bases or codons that codify for arginine during protein synthesis. In mammals, arginine is classified as a semiessential or conditionally essential amino acid, depending on the developmental stage and health status of the individual.[2] Preterm infants are unable to meet their requirements and thus arginine is nutritionally essential for infants.[3] Arginine was first isolated from a lupin seedling extract in 1886 by the Swiss chemist Ernst Schultze.

In general, most people do not need to take arginine supplements because the body usually produces enough.[4]

Contents

Structure

The amino acid side chain of arginine consists of a 3-carbon aliphatic straight chain, the distal end of which is capped by a complex guanidinium group.

With a pKa of 12.48, the guanidinium group is positively charged in neutral, acidic and even most basic environments, and thus imparts basic chemical properties to arginine. Because of the conjugation between the double bond and the nitrogen lone pairs, the positive charge is delocalized, enabling the formation of multiple H-bonds.

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