D-Amino Acids in Living Higher Organisms

  • Noriko FujiiEmail author


The homochirality of biological amino acids (L-amino acids) andof the RNA/DNA backbone (D-ribose) might have become establishedbefore the origin of life. It has been considered that D-aminoacids and L-sugars were eliminated on the primitive Earth.Therefore, the presence and function of D-amino acids in livingorganisms have not been studied except for D-amino acids in thecell walls of microorganisms. However, D-amino acids wererecently found in various living higher organisms in the form offree amino acids, peptides, and proteins. Free D-aspartate andD-serine are present and may have important physiologicalfunctions in mammals. D-amino acids in peptides are well knownas opioid peptides and neuropeptides. In protein, D-aspartateresidues increase during aging. This review deals with recentadvances in the study of D-amino acids in higher organisms.

aging D-amino acid development homochirality isomerization neuropeptides opioid peptides Origin of life racemization 


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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Reactor InstituteKyoto University KumatoriSennan, OsakaJapan

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