d-Amino Acids in Animal Peptides
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- Jilek, A. & Kreil, G. Monatsh. Chem. (2008) 139: 1. doi:10.1007/s00706-007-0780-5
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Secreted peptides from diverse sources have been found to contain a d-amino acid. From the sequence of cloned mRNAs coding for the precursors of such peptides it could be deduced that in all cases tested so far the d-amino acid in the final product is derived from the corresponding l-amino acid present in the primary product of translation. Enzymes catalyzing such an l- to d-isomerization in peptide linkage have been isolated from the venom of a spider and the skin secretions of frogs. Even though these are completely different proteins, the reaction mechanism is the same, namely a de-protonation/re-protonation of the α-carbon of an amino acid with concomitant inversion of the chirality. Sequences potentially coding for homologues of the frog enzyme are present in the genome of different vertebrate species.