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Glycine Definition
What Is Glycine?

The simplest amino acid. It is a common residue in proteins, especially collagen and elastin and is not optically active. Glycine is the organic compound (non-essential aminoacid) with the formula HO2CCH2NH2. It is structurally the simplest of the a-amino acids, having merely a hydrogen atom for a side chain, and is thus very unreactive when incorporated into proteins. Because of the structural simplicity, this amino acid tends to be evolutionarily conserved in, for example, cytochrome c, myoglobin, and hemoglobin. Glycine is the unique amino acid that is not optically active. Most proteins contain only small quantities of glycine. A notable exception is collagen, which contains about 35% glycine. In the free state glycine participates in several important reactions, including the biosynthesis of heme, an important constituent of hemoglobin, and the biosyntheses of serine (another amino acid), purines (constituents of genetic material), and glutathione (a coenzyme). Defects of glycine metabolism are very rare. The amino acid is not essential to the diet since it can be made from other substances in the body.

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