Amino Acids: Biochemistry and Nutrition, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Amino Acids

Biochemistry and Nutrition, 1st Edition

By Guoyao Wu

CRC Press

503 pages | 131 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2013-04-22
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Amino acid biochemistry and nutrition spans a broad range of fields including biochemistry, metabolism, physiology, immunology, reproduction, pathology, and cell biology. In the last half-century, there have been many conceptual and technical advancements, from analysis of amino acids by high-performance liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry to molecular cloning of transporters for amino acids and small peptides. Amino Acids: Biochemistry and Nutrition presents comprehensive coverage of these scientific developments, providing a useful reference for students and researchers in both biomedicine and agriculture.

The text begins with the discoveries and basic concepts of amino acids, peptides, and proteins, and then moves to protein digestion and absorption of peptides and amino acids. Additional chapters cover cell-, tissue-, and species-specific synthesis and catabolism of amino acids and related nitrogenous substances, as well as the use of isotopes to study amino acid metabolism in cells and the body. The book also details protein synthesis and degradation, regulation of amino acid metabolism, physiological functions of amino acids, and inborn errors of amino acid metabolism. The final chapter discusses dietary requirements of amino acids by humans and other animals.

While emphasizing basic principles and classical concepts of amino acid biochemistry and nutrition, the author includes recent progress in the field. This book also provides concise coverage of major historical developments of the scientific discipline, so that readers will appreciate the past, understand the current state of the knowledge, and explore the future of the field. Each chapter contains select references to provide comprehensive reviews and original experimental data on the topics discussed.


"This useful volume takes a broad-based look at the metabolism of amino acids. … easily readable, with well-presented, accurate illustrations (primarily charts and pathways). Pertinent end-of-chapter references; comprehensive index. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above.

B. Williams, emeritus, St. Catherine University, in CHOICE Magazine

"This book is the most comprehensive treatment of animal amino-acid metabolism and will be a valuable resource to all working in this area. It covers the history, chemistry, and the integrated physiology of the major amino acids, going far beyond their use in protein synthesis to include a full description of non-protein functions and the role of amino acids as signaling molecules."

—Dr. Malcolm Watford, Professor of Nutrition, Rutgers University

"I did find the chapter on Intracellular Protein Degradation to be good reading. I would recommend this chapter as background to anyone working in the area and trying to learn about it. I appreciated the historical context, taking the reader through the progression of the field. The background on the proteases and peptidases is particularly detailed."

—Dr. Vickie E. Baracos, Professor of Medicine, The University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

"This new volume by a leading investigator in the field of amino acids is both

comprehensive and eclectic in its coverage and is recommended to all with an

interest in these fascinating biomolecules."

Dr. John T. Brosnan, Professor of Biochemistry, Memorial University of Newfoundland

Fellow, The Royal Society of Canada

"Dr. Wu's book is a highly valuable contribution to the armamentarium of knowledge in nutritional biochemistry and will be a classic textbook in the area."

—Dr. Teresa A. Davis, Professor of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine

"This is just EXACTLY what I have been looking for because it has just enough detail but is not lost in detail. The figures are very clear."

Dr. Jeffrey L. Firkins, Professor of Nutrition, Ohio State University

"I enjoyed reading Dr. Wu's book very much. It will be very useful and practical for graduate and undergraduate students to learn amino acid biochemistry and nutrition, as well as for any scientists to fully understand the historical and current views of the arena of amino acids."

Dr. Chien-An A. Hu, Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology,

University of New Mexico School of Medicine

"I really enjoyed the chapter on 'Dietary Requirements of Amino Acids'! I also appreciated the section on what constitutes an 'essential' amino acid (Dr. Wu was preaching to the choir on this topic)."

Dr.James C. Matthews, Professor of Nutrition, University of Kentucky

Table of Contents

Discovery and Chemistry of Amino Acids

Definition and Nomenclature of AA

Discovery of AA

Chemical Properties of AA

Protein Digestion and Absorption of Peptides and Amino Acids

Classification and Content of Protein in Diets

Definitions of Digestion and Absorption

Protein Digestion and Absorption of Peptides and AA in Monogastric Animals

Protein Digestion and Absorption of Peptides and AA in Ruminants

Synthesis of Amino Acids

Synthesis of AA in Tissues and Cells of Animals Including Humans

General Pathways for Synthesis of AA in Animal Cells

Specific Pathways for Synthesis of AA in Animal Cells

Pathways for Synthesis of AA in Microorganisms

Synthesis of D-AA in Animal Cells and Bacteria

Conversion of D-AA to l-AA in Animal Cells and Bacteria

Degradation of Amino Acids

General Characteristics of AA Degradation in Animal Cells

Pathways for Degradation of AA in Animal Cells

Catabolism of D-AA in Animal Cells

Catabolism of L-AA and D-AA in Microorganisms

Synthesis and Catabolism of Special Nitrogenous Substances from Amino Acids

Production of Dipeptides Consisting of Histidine or Its Methylated Derivatives

Synthesis and Degradation of GSH

Production of Gly–Pro–Hydroxyproline

Synthesis and Catabolism of Polyamines

Synthesis and Utilization of Creatine

Synthesis and Catabolism of L-Carnitine

Synthesis and Catabolism of Purine and Pyrimidine Nucleotides

Heme Synthesis and Catabolism

Synthesis and Catabolism of Histamine

Synthesis and Catabolism of Catecholamines, Thyroid Hormones, and Melanin

Synthesis and Catabolism of Serotonin and Melatonin

Synthesis and Catabolism of D-Glucosamine and Glycosaminoglycans

Conjugation Products for Excretion

Synthesis of Urea and Uric Acid

Ammonia Production and Toxicity in Animals

Urea Production in Mammals

Uric Acid Synthesis

Comparisons between Uric Acid and Urea Synthesis

Use of Isotopes for Studying Amino Acid Metabolism

Basic Concepts about Isotopes

Interpretation of Data from Isotope Experiments

Potential Pitfalls of Isotopic Studies

Protein Synthesis

Historical Perspectives of Protein Synthesis Pathway

Pathways of Protein Synthesis in the Cytoplasm and Mitochondria

Biochemical Characteristics and Significance of Protein Synthesis

Measurements of Protein Synthesis

Intracellular Protein Degradation

Historical Perspectives of Intracellular Protein Degradation

Proteases (Peptidases) for Intracellular Protein Degradation

Intracellular Proteolytic Pathways

Characteristics and Physiological Significance of Intracellular Protein Degradation

Measurements of Intracellular Protein Degradation

Regulation of Amino Acid Metabolism

Basic Concepts in Metabolism

Effects of Nutritional and Physiological Factors on AA Metabolism

Physiological Functions of Amino Acids

Roles of AA in Peptide Synthesis

Roles of AA for Synthesis of Nonpeptide Molecules

Regulatory Roles of AA in Food Intake, Nutrient Metabolism, and Gene Expression

Roles for AA in the Immune Response

Use of AA in Nutrition, Therapy, and Health

Efficacy and Safety of Dietary AA Supplementation

Inborn Errors of Amino Acid Metabolism

Inherited Diseases Resulting from Disorders of AA Metabolism

Treatment of Inborn Errors of AA Metabolism

Dietary Requirements of Amino Acids

Historical Perspectives of Dietary AA Requirements

Determination of AA Requirements

Assessment of Dietary Protein Quality


About the Author

Dr. Guoyao Wu is a university distinguished professor, university faculty fellow, and Texas A&M AgriLife Research senior faculty fellow at Texas A&M University. He has taught graduate and undergraduate courses at Texas A&M University in the past 21 years. His research focuses on the biochemistry, nutrition, and physiology of amino acids in animals at genetic, molecular, cellular, and whole-body levels. Dr. Wu is a member and elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MEDICAL / Biochemistry
MEDICAL / Nutrition
SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Biology / Molecular Biology