The Biochemistry of Arginine

The structure of the arginine molecule is shown in Fig. 5.1. It is the most basic of the amino acids, with a pKa of 12.5, and, as such, contributes to the positive charge of proteins of which it is a component. The metabolic pathways involving arginine are complex and are outlined in Fig. 5.2. Adding to the complexity of these pathways is the varied location of the enzymes involved, both at the intracellular level (mitochondrial versus cytosolic enzymes) and between tissues. With the exception of enterocytes in neonates, no single cell type contains all the necessary enzymes for arginine synthesis (Wu and Morris, 1998).

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