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|Systematic (IUPAC) name|
- For other articles using the abbreviation or acronym asn see ASN.
Its three-letter abbreviation is Asn, and its one-letter abbreviation is N. A three-letter designation for either asparagine or aspartic acid is Asx (one-letter abbreviation: B).
A reaction between asparagine and reducing sugars or reactive carbonyls produces acrylamide (acrylic amide) in food when heated to sufficient temperature, i.e. baking. These occur primarily in baked goods such as french fries, potato chips, and roasted coffee.
Asparagine was first isolated in 1806 from asparagus juice, in which it is abundant--hence its name--becoming the first amino acid to be isolated. The smell observed in the urine of individuals after their consumption of asparagus is attributed to a byproduct of the metabolic breakdown of asparagine, asparagine-amino-succinic-acid monoamide. (However, some scientists disagree and implicate other substances in the smell, especially methanethiol). Oddly, some people are not able to detect the odour of the compound.
Structural function in proteins
Since the asparagine side chain can make efficient hydrogen bond interactions with the peptide backbone, asparagines are often found near the beginning and end of alpha-helices, and in turn motifs in beta sheets. Its role can be thought as "capping" the hydrogen bond interactions which would otherwise need to be satisfied by the polypeptide backbone. Glutamines have an extra methylene group, have more conformational entropy and thus are less useful in this regard.
Asparagine also provides key sites for N-linked glycosylation, modification of the protein chain with the addition of carbohydrate chains.
Asparagine is not an essential amino acid, which means that it can be synthesized from central metabolic pathway intermediates in humans and is not required in the diet. The precursor to asparagine is oxaloacetate. Oxaloacetate is converted to aspartate using a transaminase enzyme. The enzyme transfers the amino group from glutamate to oxaloacetate producing α-ketoglutarate and aspartate. The enzyme asparagine synthetase produces asparagine, AMP, glutamate, and pyrophosphate from aspartate, glutamine, and ATP. In the asparagine synthetase reaction, ATP is used to activate aspartate, forming β-aspartyl-AMP. Glutamine donates an ammonium group which reacts with β-aspartyl-AMP to form asparagine and free AMP.
Aspartate is a glucogenic amino acid. L-asparginase hydrolyzes the amide group to form aspartate and ammonium. A transaminase converts the aspartate to oxaloacetate which can then be metabolized in the citric acid cycle or gluconeogenesis.
The nervous system needs asparagine to maintain the equilibrium, as well as in amino acid transformation. It also plays an important role in the synthesis of ammonia.
Asparagus, dairy products, potatoes, beef, poultry, meat, and eggs.
|Alanine | Arginine | Asparagine | Aspartic acid | Cysteine | Glutamic acid | Glutamine | Glycine | Histidine | Isoleucine | Leucine | Lysine | Methionine | Phenylalanine | Proline | Serine | Threonine | Tryptophan | Tyrosine | Valine|
|Essential amino acid | Protein | Peptide | Genetic code|
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