Sunday, October 27, 2013

Chiral molecule: Isoleucine

Isoleucine is an essential amino acid which surprisingly, cannot be synthesized by the human body; yet it is still required for bodily functions. Since our bodies can't make it, we have to ingest it; it is found in almonds, cashews, chicken, eggs, fish, lentils, liver, meat, etc.

Isoleucine is important for muscle recovery after exercise, synthesis of hemoglobin, regulating blood sugar levels and energy levels, and also is involved in forming blood clots. If there isn't enough isoleucine found in the body symptoms like dizziness, headaches, fatigue, depression, confusion, etc. may occur.

One neat fact about isoleucine is that when it is heated for decomposition, it emits toxic nitric oxide fumes which can be deadly.

The configuration of the chiral center that is on the left region of the molecule is R, whereas the configuration of the second chiral center is S.

1 comment:

  1. Great post, I`d like to build on this by adding that isoleucine is one of a group of three essential amino acids known as branched chain amino acids, the other two being leucine and valine. Branched chain amino acids are characterized by having a "branched chain" of carbon. in isoleucine, you can see in your structures that the chain is on the S chiral center. Leucine and isoleucine are constitutional isomers, in that they have the same chemical formula, but their atoms are connected slightly differently. In isoleucine, the branched chain is a 1-methyl-propyl group, while leucine has a 2-methyl-propyl group.

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