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Bioorganic SynthesisAn Introduction$
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Gary W. Morrow

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199860531

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199860531.001.0001

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Biosynthesis of Carbohydrates and Amino Acids

Biosynthesis of Carbohydrates and Amino Acids

3 Biosynthesis of Carbohydrates and Amino Acids
Bioorganic Synthesis

Gary W. Morrow

Oxford University Press

We have already seen that some of the basic building blocks used in the biosynthesis of natural products are amino acids such as phenylalanine, tyrosine, and others. These and other crucial construction materials such as the acyl group in acetyl-CoA are all ultimately derived from carbohydrates. In this chapter, we will present an abbreviated overview of the components of carbohydrate structure and metabolism sufficient for our purposes going forward, with a schematic flowchart showing how carbohydrates and amino acids are modified, combined, and branched off in various ways to yield the distinct set of biosynthetic pathways that will form the core of the remainder of the text. We will finish the chapter with a brief, general review of amino acid nomenclature and structure with emphasis on the key amino acids that will be used throughout the remainder of the text. We know that plants make glucose (C6H12O6) by photosynthesis using light, water (H2O), and carbon dioxide (CO2). Another way of looking at the formula for glucose is C6(H2O)6, that is, six carbon atoms and six water molecules. Thus, glucose was originally referred to as a hydrated form of carbon—a carbohydrate. But this is a very general term since there are many different types of carbohydrate compounds. One way to broadly classify carbohydrates is to identify them as either mono- (one), di- (two), oligo- (a few) or poly- (many) saccharides. For example, glucose (C6H12O6) cannot be broken down into simpler carbohydrates by simple hydrolysis, so it is classified as a monosaccharide, that is, a single, discrete carbohydrate compound. On the other hand, the carbohydrate sucrose (C12H22O11) is classified as a disaccharide since when it is subjected to aqueous hydrolysis, it yields two different monosaccharide carbohydrates, namely glucose (C6H12O6) and fructose (C6H12O6). Noting that glucose and fructose are different compounds but with the same molecular formula, they must be related to one another either as stereoisomers or as constitutional isomers, so further refinement of classification is needed. Structurally speaking, most monosaccharide carbohydrates are simply polyhydroxyaldehydes (aldoses) or polyhydroxyketones (ketoses) which can be further classified using a combination of aldo- or keto- prefixes along with suffixes such as triose, tetrose, pentose, or hexose to designate the number of carbon atoms.

Keywords:   aconitase, carbohydrates, daunosamine, epimers, fermentation, glutamic acid, isocitric acid, ketose carbohydrate, lactic acid, malate dehydrogenase

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