Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Chiral Molecule: Life with Amino Acid Isoleucine

Amino acids are the primitive compound that have been theorized to have roots dated back to 4.7 billion years ago when the Earth was born. During this time, Earth does not have an atmosphere to support life. However, studies and experiments such as the Miller-Urey experiment, have replicated an early Earth-like environment and found that amino acids formed. Amino acids are the builders of proteins. There are 20 different kinds of amino acids that built thousands of different proteins similar to 26 alphabet letters that make up thousands of English vocabulary.

Within the structure of Isoleucine, it has 2 chiral centers at adjacent carbons. Isoleucine is one of the most essential amino acids that promote muscle recovery after physical exercise and regulates hemoglobin in blood sugar and energy levels. The first Isoleucine is D, which occurs rarely in nature and there is L that can be found abundantly in nature. Both are mirror images of each other, but the amines and methyl group changed position making them enantiomers. Both are favorable in athletics and can be taken as a medication to regulate blood sugar and energy efficiency.


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