3D model (JSmol)
|Molar mass||117.148 g·mol−1|
|Melting point||298 °C (568 °F; 571 K) (decomposition)|
|Acidity (pKa)||2.32 (carboxyl), 9.62 (amino)|
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
Valine (symbol Val or V) is an α-amino acid that is used in the biosynthesis of proteins. It contains an α-amino group (which is in the protonated −NH3+ form under biological conditions), an α-carboxylic acid group (which is in the deprotonated −COO− form under biological conditions), and a side chain isopropyl group, making it a non-polar aliphatic amino acid. It is essential in humans, meaning the body cannot synthesize it: it must be obtained from the diet. Human dietary sources are foods that contain protein, such as meats, dairy products, soy products, beans and legumes. It is encoded by all codons starting with GU (GUU, GUC, GUA, and GUG).
History and etymology
Valine was first isolated from casein in 1901 by Hermann Emil Fischer. The name valine comes from valeric acid, which in turn is named after the plant valerian due to the presence of the acid in the roots of the plant.
Source and biosynthesis
Valine, like other branched-chain amino acids, is synthesized by plants, but not by animals. It is therefore an essential amino acid in animals, and needs to be present in the diet. Adult humans require about 24 mg/kg body weight daily. It is synthesized in plants and bacteria via several steps starting from pyruvic acid. The initial part of the pathway also leads to leucine. The intermediate α-ketoisovalerate undergoes reductive amination with glutamate. Enzymes involved in this biosynthesis include:
- Acetolactate synthase (also known as acetohydroxy acid synthase)
- Acetohydroxy acid isomeroreductase
- Dihydroxyacid dehydratase
- Valine aminotransferase
Like other branched-chain amino acids, the catabolism of valine starts with the removal of the amino group by transamination, giving alpha-ketoisovalerate, an alpha-keto acid, which is converted to isobutyryl-CoA through oxidative decarboxylation by the branched-chain α-ketoacid dehydrogenase complex. This is further oxidised and rearranged to succinyl-CoA, which can enter the citric acid cycle.
- HO2CCH2CH(CH3)2 + Br2 → HO2CCHBrCH(CH3)2 + HBr
- HO2CCHBrCH(CH3)2 + 2 NH3 → HO2CCH(NH2)CH(CH3)2 + NH4Br
Valine, like other branched-chain amino acids, is associated with weight loss and decreased insulin resistance: higher levels of valine are observed in the blood of diabetic mice, rats, and humans. Mice fed a valine diet for one day have improved insulin sensitivity, and feeding of a valine diet for one week significantly decreases blood glucose levels. In diet-induced obese and insulin resistant mice, a diet with decreased levels of valine and the other branched-chain amino acids results in a rapid reversal of the adiposity and an improvement in glucose-level control. The valine catabolite 3-hydroxyisobutyrate promotes insulin sensitivity in mice by stimulating fatty acid uptake into muscle and lipid reduction. In humans, a protein rich diet decreases fasting blood glucose levels.
Hematopoietic stem cells
Dietary valine is essential for hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) self-renewal, as demonstrated by experiments in mice. Dietary valine restriction selectively depletes long-term repopulating HSC in mouse bone marrow. Successful stem cell transplantation was achieved in mice without irradiation after 3 weeks on a valine restricted diet. Long-term survival of the transplanted mice was achieved when valine was returned to the diet gradually over a 2-week period to avoid refeeding syndrome.
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