Handler, Philip Formerly, Department of Biochemistry, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC.
Scheer, Bradley T. Department of Biology, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon.
- Additional Readings
The removal of unusable or excess nitrogen from a cell or a living organism. In the quest for sufficient food energy to meet caloric requirements, animals ingest more nitrogen, largely as amino acids, than they require. Accordingly, the excess nitrogen ingested must be excreted in some form. Through the action of a series of related enzymes called transaminases, virtually all metabolic nitrogen can be transferred to α-ketoglutaric acid to form glutamic acid, as shown in reaction (1). Under the influence of glutamic dehydrogenase, glutamic acid may be oxidized by the coenzyme diphosphopyridine nucleotide (DPN) with the reformation of α-ketoglutaric acid plus ammonia, as shown in reaction (2). See also: Excretion; Nitrogen
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