Amino Acids as Precursors of Bioactive Molecules

Irrespective of their position in the biochemical and nutritional classification, amino acids are involved in diverse pathways leading to the synthesis of important bioactive molecules (Table 1.8). Indeed, glutamate has been referred to as an amino acid of 'particular distinction' (Young and Ajami, 2000) and selenocysteine is now recognized as the 21st amino acid that may be incorporated into proteins (Atkins and Gesteland, 2000). Some amino acids are important precursors of neurotransmitters and certain hormones, while others are involved in N transport and in the maintenance of integrity of cell membranes.

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