PubChem = 6305
CAS = 73-22-3
SMILES = N [C@@H] (Cc1c2ccccc2n( [H] )c1)C(O)=O
C=11 | H=12 | N=2 | O=2
Tryptophan (abbreviated as Trp or W) [cite web | author=IUPAC-IUBMB Joint Commission on Biochemical Nomenclature | title=Nomenclature and Symbolism for Amino Acids and Peptides | work=Recommendations on Organic & Biochemical Nomenclature, Symbols & Terminology etc | url=http://www.chem.qmul.ac.uk/iupac/AminoAcid/ | accessdate=2007-05-17] is one of the 20 standard amino acids, as well as an
essential amino acidin the humandiet. It is encoded in genetic code as the codon"UGG". Only the L- stereoisomerof tryptophan is used in structural or enzymeproteins, but the D- stereoisomeris occasionally found in naturally produced peptides (for example, the marine venom peptide contryphan).cite journal |author=Pallaghy PK, Melnikova AP, Jimenez EC, Olivera BM, Norton RS|title=Solution structure of contryphan-R, a naturally-occurring disulfide-bridged octapeptide containing D-tryptophan: comparison with protein loops|journal= Biochemistry |volume= 38 |issue= 35 |pages= 11553–9 |year= 1999 |pmid= 10471307 | doi = 10.1021/bi990685j] The distinguishing structural characteristic of tryptophan is that it contains an indolefunctional group.
The isolation of tryptophan was first reported by Sir Frederick Hopkins in 1901 cite journal | author = Hopkins FG, Cole SW | title = A contribution to the chemistry of proteids: Part I. A preliminary study of a hitherto undescribed product of tryptic digestion | journal = J. Physiol. (Lond.) | volume = 27 | issue = 4-5 | pages = 418–28 | year = 1901 | pmid = 16992614 | doi = | issn = | url = http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1540554] through hydrolysis of
casein. From 600 grams of crude casein one obtains 4-8 grams of tryptophan.cite journal | author = Cox GJ, King H | title = L-Tryptophane | journal = Organic Syntheses | volume = Collected Volume 2 | issue = | pages = 612–616 | year = 1943| doi = | issn = | url = http://www.orgsyn.org/orgsyn/pdfs/CV2P0612.pdf]
Biosynthesis and industrial production
microorganisms commonly synthesize tryptophan from shikimic acidor anthranilate.cite journal | author = Radwanski ER, Last RL | title = Tryptophan biosynthesis and metabolism: biochemical and molecular genetics | journal = Plant Cell | volume = 7 | issue = 7 | pages = 921–34 | year = 1995 | pmid = 7640526 | doi = 10.1105/tpc.7.7.921 ] The latter condenses with phosphoribosylpyrophosphate(PRPP), generating pyrophosphateas a by-product. After ring opening of the ribose moiety and following reductive decarboxylation, indole-3-glycerinephosphate is produced, which in turn is transformed into indole. In the last step, tryptophan synthase catalyzes the formation of tryptophan from indole and the amino acid, serine.The industrial production of tryptophan is also biosynthetic and is based on the fermentation of serineand indoleusing either wild-type or genetically modified " E. coli". The conversion is catalyzed by the enzyme tryptophan synthase.cite journal | author = Ikeda M | title = Amino acid production processes | journal = Adv. Biochem. Eng. Biotechnol. | volume = 79 | issue = | pages = 1–35 | year = 2002 | pmid = 12523387 | doi = | issn = | url = http://www.springerlink.com/content/226q8plt36351kck]
For many organisms (including humans), tryptophan is an
essential amino acid. This means that it cannot be synthesized by the organism and therefore must be part of its diet. Amino acids, including tryptophan, act as building blocks in protein biosynthesis. In addition, tryptophan functions as a biochemical precursor for the following compounds (see also figure to the right):
Serotonin(a neurotransmitter), synthesized via tryptophan hydroxylase.cite journal | author = Fernstrom JD | title = Role of precursor availability in control of monoamine biosynthesis in brain | journal = Physiol. Rev. | volume = 63 | issue = 2 | pages = 484–546 | year = 1983 | pmid = 6132421 | doi = | issn = | url = http://physrev.physiology.org/cgi/reprint/63/2/484] cite journal | author = Schaechter JD, Wurtman RJ | title = Serotonin release varies with brain tryptophan levels | journal = Brain Res. | volume = 532 | issue = 1-2 | pages = 203–10 | year = 1990 | pmid = 1704290 | doi = 10.1016/0006-8993(90)91761-5| url = http://wurtmanlab.mit.edu/publications/pdf/790.pdf] Serotonin, in turn, can be converted to melatonin(a neurohormone), via N-acetyltransferase and 5-hydroxyindole-O-methyltransferaseactivities.cite journal | author = Wurtman RJ, Anton-Tay F | title = The mammalian pineal as a neuroendocrine transducer | journal = Recent Prog. Horm. Res. | volume = 25 | issue = | pages = 493–522 | year = 1969 | pmid = 4391290 | doi = | issn = | url = http://wurtmanlab.mit.edu/publications/pdf/104.pdf]
Niacinis synthesized from tryptophan via kynurenineand quinolinic acids as key biosynthetic intermediates.cite journal | author = Ikeda M, Tsuji H, Nakamura S, Ichiyama A, Nishizuka Y, Hayaishi O | title = Studies on the biosynthesis of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide. II. A role of picolinic carboxylase in the biosynthesis of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide from tryptophan in mammals | journal = J. Biol. Chem. | volume = 240 | issue = | pages = 1395–401 | year = 1965 | pmid = 14284754 | doi = | issn = | url = http://www.jbc.org/cgi/reprint/240/3/1395 ]
The disorder Fructose Malabsorption causes improper absorption of tryptophan in the intestine, reduced levels of tryptophan in the blood [cite journal |author=Ledochowski M, Widner B, Murr C, Sperner-Unterweger B, Fuchs D |title=Fructose malabsorption is associated with decreased plasma tryptophan |journal=Scand. J. Gastroenterol. |volume=36 |issue=4 |pages=367–71 |year=2001 |pmid=11336160 |doi=] and depression. [cite journal |author=Ledochowski M, Sperner-Unterweger B, Widner B, Fuchs D |title=Fructose malabsorption is associated with early signs of mental depression |journal=Eur. J. Med. Res. |volume=3 |issue=6 |pages=295–8 |year=1998 |pmid=9620891 |doi=]
In bacteria that synthesize tryptophan, high cellular levels of this amino acid activate a
repressorprotein, which binds to the trp operon. Fact|date=October 2007 Binding of this repressor to the tryptophan operon prevents transcription of downstream DNA that codes for the enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of tryptophan. So high levels of tryptophan prevent tryptophan synthesis through a negative feedback loop and, when the cell's tryptophan levels are reduced, transcription from the trp operon resumes. The genetic organisation of the trp operon thus permits tightly regulated and rapid responses to changes in the cell's internal and external tryptophan levels.
Tryptophan is a routine constituent of most protein-based foods or dietary proteins. It is particularly plentiful in
chocolate, oats, bananas, mangoes, dried dates, milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, red meat, eggs, fish, poultry, sesame, chickpeas, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, spirulina, and peanuts. [http://www.vitamins-supplements.org/amino-acids/tryptophan.php Tryptophan background] ] It is also found in turkey at a level typical of poultry in general.cite web|title= USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 20 | |publisher= United States Department of Agriculture | author = Joanne Holden, Nutrient Data Laboratory, Agricultural Research Service | url=http://www.ars.usda.gov/nutrientdata | accessdate = 2007-10-02]
Use as a dietary supplement
For some time, tryptophan has been available in health food stores as a
dietary supplement, although it is common in dietary protein. Many people found tryptophan to be a safe and reasonably effective sleep aid, probably due to its ability to increase brainlevels of serotonin(a calming neurotransmitterwhen present in moderate levels)cite journal | author = Wurtman RJ, Hefti F, Melamed E | title = Precursor control of neurotransmitter synthesis | journal = Pharmacol. Rev. | volume = 32 | issue = 4 | pages = 315–35 | year = 1980 | pmid = 6115400 | doi = | issn = | url = http://wurtmanlab.mit.edu/publications/pdf/466.pdf ] and/or melatonin(a sleep-inducing hormonesecreted by the pineal glandin response to darkness or low light levels).cite journal | author = Wurtman RJ, Larin F, Axelrod J, Shein HM, Rosasco K | title = Formation of melatonin and 5-hydroxyindole acetic acid from 14C-tryptophan by rat pineal glands in organ culture | journal = Nature | volume = 217 | issue = 5132 | pages = 953–4 | year = 1968 | pmid = 5300432 | doi = 10.1038/217953a0 ] cite journal | author = Ruddick JP, Evans AK, Nutt DJ, Lightman SL, Rook GA, Lowry CA | title = Tryptophan metabolism in the central nervous system: medical implications | journal = Expert reviews in molecular medicine | volume = 8 | issue = 20 | pages = 1–27 | year = 2006 | pmid = 16942634 | doi = 10.1017/S1462399406000068 ]
Clinical research has shown mixed results with respect to tryptophan's effectiveness as a sleep aid, especially in normal patientscite journal | author = Hartmann E | title = Effects of L-tryptophan on sleepiness and on sleep | journal = Journal of psychiatric research | volume = 17 | issue = 2 | pages = 107–13 | year = 1982 | pmid = 6764927 | doi = 10.1016/0022-3956(82)90012-7 ] cite journal | author = Schneider-Helmert D, Spinweber CL | title = Evaluation of L-tryptophan for treatment of insomnia: a review | journal = Psychopharmacology (Berl.) | volume = 89 | issue = 1 | pages = 1–7 | year = 1986 | pmid = 3090582 | doi = 10.1007/BF00175180 ] cite journal | author = Wyatt RJ, Engelman K, Kupfer DJ, Fram DH, Sjoerdsma A, Snyder F. | title = Effects of L-tryptophan (a natural sedative) on human sleep | journal = Lancet | volume = 1970 Oct 24,2 | issue = 7678 | pages = 842–6 | year = 1970 Oct 24| pmid = 4097755 | doi = | issn = 0140-6736] and for a growing variety of other conditions typically associated with low serotonin levels or activity in the brain [cite web|title=research summary of Dr. Richard Wurtman, MIT|url=http://web.mit.edu/bcs/people/wurtman.shtml|accessdate = 2007-08-12] such as
premenstrual dysphoric disordercite journal | author = Steinberg S, Annable L, Young SN, Liyanage N | title = A placebo-controlled clinical trial of L-tryptophan in premenstrual dysphoria | journal = Biol. Psychiatry | volume = 45 | issue = 3 | pages = 313–20 | year = 1999 | pmid = 10023508 | doi = 10.1016/S0006-3223(98)00005-5 | issn = ] and seasonal affective disorder.cite journal | author = Lam RW, Levitan RD, Tam EM, Yatham LN, Lamoureux S, Zis AP | title = L-tryptophan augmentation of light therapy in patients with seasonal affective disorder | journal = Canadian journal of psychiatry. Revue canadienne de psychiatrie | volume = 42 | issue = 3 | pages = 303–6 | year = 1997 | pmid = 9114947 | doi = | issn = | url = http://ww1.cpa-apc.org:8080/Publications/Archives/CJP/1997/April/apr97_bc1.htm ] cite journal |author=Jepson TL, Ernst ME, Kelly MW|title=Current perspectives on the management of seasonal affective disorder|journal= J Am Pharm Assoc (Wash) |volume= 39 |issue= 6 |pages= 822–9 |year= 1999 |pmid= 10609448|doi=10.1126/science.2237411.
|doi_brokendate=2008-06-25] In particular, tryptophan has been showing considerable promise as an
antidepressantalone,cite journal | author = Thomson J, Rankin H, Ashcroft GW, Yates CM, McQueen JK, Cummings SW | title = The treatment of depression in general practice: a comparison of L-tryptophan, amitriptyline, and a combination of L-tryptophan and amitriptyline with placebo | journal = Psychological medicine | volume = 12 | issue = 4 | pages = 741–51 | year = 1982 | pmid = 7156248 | doi = | issn = ] and as an "augmenter" of antidepressantdrugs.cite journal | author = Levitan RD, Shen JH, Jindal R, Driver HS, Kennedy SH, Shapiro CM | title = Preliminary randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial of tryptophan combined with fluoxetine to treat major depressive disorder: antidepressant and hypnotic effects | journal = Journal of psychiatry & neuroscience : JPN | volume = 25 | issue = 4 | pages = 337–46 | year = 2000 | pmid = 11022398 | doi = | issn = | url = http://www.cma.ca/index.cfm/ci_id/12652/la_id/1.htm] However, the reliability of these clinical trials has been questioned.cite journal | author = Meyers S | title = Use of neurotransmitter precursors for treatment of depression | journal = Alternative medicine review : a journal of clinical therapeutic | volume = 5 | issue = 1 | pages = 64–71 | year = 2000 | pmid = 10696120 | doi = | issn = | url = http://www.thorne.com/altmedrev/.fulltext/5/1/64.pdf ] cite journal | author = Shaw K, Turner J, Del Mar C | title = Tryptophan and 5-hydroxytryptophan for depression | journal = Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) | volume = | issue = 1 | pages = CD003198 | year = 2002 | pmid = 11869656 | doi = 10.1002/14651858.CD003198 | issn = ]
5-Hydroxytryptophan(5-HTP), a metabolite of tryptophan, has been suggested as a treatment for epilepsycite journal |author=Kostowski W, Bidzinski A, Hauptmann M, Malinowski JE, Jerlicz M, Dymecki J|title=Brain serotonin and epileptic seizures in mice: a pharmacological and biochemical study|journal= Pol J Pharmacol Pharm |volume= 30 |issue= 1 |pages= 41–7 |year= 1978 |pmid= 148040|doi=10.1126/science.2237411.
|doi_brokendate=2008-06-25] and depression, although clinical trials are regarded inconclusive and lacking.cite journal |author=Turner EH, Loftis JM, Blackwell AD|title=Serotonin a la carte: supplementation with the serotonin precursor 5-hydroxytryptophan|journal= Pharmacol Ther |volume= 109 |issue= 3 |pages= 325–38 |year= 2006 |pmid= 16023217 | doi = 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2005.06.004]
5-HTP readily crosses the
blood-brain barrierand in addition is rapidly decarboxylated to serotonin(5-hydroxytryptamine or 5-HT)cite journal |author=Hardebo JE, Owman C|title=Barrier mechanisms for neurotransmitter monoamines and their precursors at the blood-brain interface|journal= Ann NeurolAnn Neurol |volume= 8 |issue= 1 |pages= 1–31 |year= 1980 |pmid= 6105837|doi=10.1002/ana.410080102] and therefore may be useful for the treatment of depression. However serotonin has a relatively short half-life since it is rapidly metabolized by monoamine oxidase, and therefore is likely to have limited efficacy. It is marketed in Europe for depression and other indications under the brand names Cincofarm and Tript-OH.
In the United States, 5-HTP does not require a prescription, as it is covered under the Dietary Supplement Act. However, since the quality of dietary supplements is not regulated by the
FDA, the quality of dietary and nutritional supplements tends to vary, and there is no guarantee that the label accurately depicts what the bottle contains.
Tryptophan supplements and EMS
Although currently available for purchase, in 1989 a large outbreak (1,500 cases of permanent disability including at least thirty-seven deaths) of a disabling
autoimmuneillness called eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome(EMS) was traced by some epidemiological studiescite journal | author = Slutsker L, Hoesly FC, Miller L, Williams LP, Watson JC, Fleming DW | title = Eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome associated with exposure to tryptophan from a single manufacturer | journal = JAMA | volume = 264 | issue = 2 | pages = 213–7 | year = 1990 | pmid = 2355442| doi = 10.1001/jama.264.2.213| issn = ] cite journal | author = Back EE, Henning KJ, Kallenbach LR, Brix KA, Gunn RA, Melius JM | title = Risk factors for developing eosinophilia myalgia syndrome among L-tryptophan users in New York | journal = J. Rheumatol. | volume = 20 | issue = 4 | pages = 666–72 | year = 1993 | pmid = 8496862 | doi = | issn = ] cite journal | author = Kilbourne EM, Philen RM, Kamb ML, Falk H | title = Tryptophan produced by Showa Denko and epidemic eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome | journal = The Journal of rheumatology. Supplement | volume = 46 | issue = | pages = 81–8; discussion 89–91 | year = 1996 | pmid = 8895184 | doi = | issn = ] to L-tryptophan supplied by a Japanese manufacturer, Showa DenkoKK. [http://vm.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/ds-tryp1.html FDA Information Paper on L-tryptophan and 5-hydroxy-L-tryptophan] ] It was further hypothesized that one or more trace impurities produced during the manufacture of tryptophan may have been responsible for the EMS outbreak.cite journal | author = Mayeno AN, Lin F, Foote CS, Loegering DA, Ames MM, Hedberg CW, Gleich GJ | title = Characterization of "peak E," a novel amino acid associated with eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome | journal = Science | volume = 250 | issue = 4988 | pages = 1707–8 | year = 1990 | pmid = 2270484 | doi = 10.1126/science.2270484 | issn = ] cite journal | author = Ito J, Hosaki Y, Torigoe Y, Sakimoto K | title = Identification of substances formed by decomposition of peak E substance in tryptophan | journal = Food Chem. Toxicol. | volume = 30 | issue = 1 | pages = 71–81 | year = 1992 | pmid = 1544609 | doi = 10.1016/0278-6915(92)90139-C | issn = ] It is important to note that the Showa Denko facility was the only one manufacturing L-Tryptohan starting in 1984 who started to genetically engineeredbacteria to produce L-Tryptohan. As they started to increase the number of genes into their bacteria the corresponding increase in contamination levels followed. [Smith, Jeffrey M. Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods, Yes! Books, Fairfield, IA, 2007] The most illness associated with the genetically engineered L-Tryptophan was a strain that produced five separate transgenes. [A.N. Mayeno and G.J. Gleich, eds, "Eosinophilia-Myalgia Syndrome and Tryptophan Production: A Cautionary Tale." Trends Biotechnol 12 (1994): 346-352] Furthermore the methodology used in the initial epidemiological studies has been criticized.cite journal | author = Shapiro S | title = Epidemiologic studies of the association of L-tryptophan with the eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome: a critique | journal = The Journal of rheumatology. Supplement | volume = 46 | issue = | pages = 44–58; discussion 58–9 | year = 1996 | pmid = 8895181 | doi = | issn = ] cite journal | author = Horwitz RI, Daniels SR | title = Bias or biology: evaluating the epidemiologic studies of L-tryptophan and the eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome | journal = The Journal of rheumatology. Supplement | volume = 46 | issue = | pages = 60–72 | year = 1996 | pmid = 8895182 | doi = | issn = ] An alternative explanation for the 1989 EMS outbreak is that large doses of tryptophan produce metaboliteswhich inhibit the normal degradation of histamineand excess histamine in turn has been proposed to cause EMS.cite journal | author = Smith MJ, Garrett RH | title = A heretofore undisclosed crux of eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome: compromised histamine degradation | journal = Inflamm. Res. | volume = 54 | issue = 11 | pages = 435–50 | year = 2005 | pmid = 16307217 | doi = 10.1007/s00011-005-1380-7 | issn = ]
Most tryptophan was banned from sale in the US in 1991, and other countries followed suit. Tryptophan from one manufacturer, of six, continued to be sold for manufacture of baby formulas. A Rutgers Law Journal article observed, "Political pressures have played a role in the FDA's decision to ban L-tryptophan as well as its desire to increase its regulatory power over dietary supplements."cite journal |author= Beisler JH|title=Dietary Supplements and Their Discontents: FDA Regulation and the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (L-tryptophan Section)|journal= Rutgers Law Journal |volume= |issue= |pages= |year= 2000 |url = http://www.seedsofdeception.com/utility/showArticle/?objectID=263/|doi=10.1126/science.2237411.
At the time of the ban, the FDA did not know, or did not indicate, that EMS was caused by a contaminated batch, [http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/NEW00064.html FDA Tryptophan Recall] ] [cite journal |author= Raphals P|title=Does medical mystery threaten biotech?|journal= Science |volume= 250 |issue= |pages= 4981 |year= 2000 |pmid = 2237411 | doi = 10.1126/science.2237411] and yet, even when the contamination was discovered and the purification process fixed, the FDA maintained that L-tryptophan was unsafe. In February 2001, the FDA loosened the restrictions on marketing (though not on importation), but still expressed the following concern: : "Based on the scientific evidence that is available at the present time, we cannot determine with certainty that the occurrence of EMS in susceptible persons consuming L-tryptophan supplements derives from the content of L-tryptophan, an impurity contained in the L-tryptophan, or a combination of the two in association with other, as yet unknown, external factors."
Since 2002, L-tryptophan has been sold in the U.S. in its original form. Several high-quality sources of L-tryptophan do exist, and are sold in many of the largest health food stores nationwide. Indeed, tryptophan has continued to be used in clinical and experimental studies employing human patients and subjects.
In recent years in the U.S., compounding pharmacies and some mail-order supplement retailers have begun selling tryptophan to the general public. Tryptophan has also remained on the market as a prescription drug (Tryptan), which some
psychiatrists continue to prescribe, particularly as an augmenting agent for people who are unresponsive to antidepressant drugs.Fact|date=February 2007
Turkey meat and drowsiness
One widely-held belief is that heavy consumption of turkey meat (as for example in a
Thanksgivingor Christmasfeast) results in drowsiness, which has been attributed to high levels of tryptophan contained in turkey.cite web|title=About.com: Does Eating Turkey Make You Sleepy? | url=http://chemistry.about.com/od/holidaysseasons/a/tiredturkey.htm | accessdate = 2007-08-17] cite web|title=Howstuffworks.com: Is there something in turkey that makes you sleepy? | url=http://home.howstuffworks.com/question519.htm | accessdate = 2007-08-17] cite web|title=Chemistry.org: Thanksgiving, Turkey, and Tryptophan | url=http://www.chemistry.org/portal/a/c/s/1/feature_ent.html?DOC=enthusiasts%5Cent_tryptophan.html | accessdate = 2007-08-17] While turkey does contain high levels of tryptophan, the amount is comparable to that contained in most other meats. Furthermore, postprandialThanksgiving sedationmay have more to do with what is consumed along with the turkey, in particular carbohydrates and alcohol, rather than the turkey itself.
It has been demonstrated in both animal modelscite journal | author = Fernstrom JD, Wurtman RJ | title = Brain serotonin content: increase following ingestion of carbohydrate diet | journal = Science | volume = 174 | issue = 13 | pages = 1023–5 | year = 1971 | pmid = 5120086 | doi = 10.1126/science.174.4013.1023 | issn = ] and in humanscite journal | author = Lyons PM, Truswell AS | title = Serotonin precursor influenced by type of carbohydrate meal in healthy adults | journal = Am. J. Clin. Nutr. | volume = 47 | issue = 3 | pages = 433–9 | year = 1988 | pmid = 3279747 | doi = | issn = | url = http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/reprint/47/3/433.pdf] cite journal | author = Wurtman RJ, Wurtman JJ, Regan MM, McDermott JM, Tsay RH, Breu JJ | title = Effects of normal meals rich in carbohydrates or proteins on plasma tryptophan and tyrosine ratios | journal = Am. J. Clin. Nutr. | volume = 77 | issue = 1 | pages = 128–32 | year = 2003 | pmid = 12499331 | doi = | issn = | url = http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/abstract/77/1/128] cite journal | author = Afaghi A, O'Connor H, Chow CM | title = High-glycemic-index carbohydrate meals shorten sleep onset | journal = Am. J. Clin. Nutr. | volume = 85 | issue = 2 | pages = 426–30 | year = 2007 | pmid = 17284739 | doi = | issn = |url = http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/full/85/2/426] that ingestion of a meal rich in carbohydrates triggers release of insulin. Insulin in turn stimulates the uptake of large neutral branched-chain amino acids (LNAA) but not tryptophan (trp) into muscle, increasing the ratio of trp to LNAA in the blood stream. The resulting increased ratio of tryptophan to large neutral amino acids in the blood reduces competition with other amino acids for the
large neutral amino acid transporterprotein for uptake of tryptophan across the blood-brain barrierinto the central nervous system(CNS).cite journal | author = Pardridge WM, Oldendorf WH | title = Kinetic analysis of blood-brain barrier transport of amino acids | journal = Biochim. Biophys. Acta | volume = 401 | issue = 1 | pages = 128–36 | year = 1975 | pmid = 1148286 | doi = 10.1016/0005-2736(75)90347-8 | issn = ] cite journal | author = Maher TJ, Glaeser BS, Wurtman RJ | title = Diurnal variations in plasma concentrations of basic and neutral amino acids and in red cell concentrations of aspartate and glutamate: effects of dietary protein intake | journal = Am. J. Clin. Nutr. | volume = 39 | issue = 5 | pages = 722–9 | year = 1984 | pmid = 6538743 | doi = | issn = ] Once inside the CNS, tryptophan is converted into serotoninin the raphe nucleiby the normal enzymatic pathway. The resultant serotonin is further metabolised into melatoninby the pineal gland. Hence, these data suggest that "feast-induced drowsiness," and in particular, the common post-Christmas and American post-Thanksgiving dinner drowsiness, may be the result of a heavy meal rich in carbohydrates which, via an indirect mechanism, increases the production of sleep-promoting melatonin in the brain.
fluorescenceof a folded protein is a mixture of the fluorescence from individual aromatic residues. Most of the intrinsic fluorescence emissions of a folded protein are due to excitation of tryptophan residues, with some emissions due to tyrosine and phenylalanine; but be aware that di-sulfide bonds also have appreciable absorption in this wavelength range. Typically, tryptophan has a wavelength of maximum absorption of 280 nm and an emission peak that is solvatochromic, ranging from ca. 300 to 350 nm depending in the polarity of the local environment [ [http://dwb.unl.edu/Teacher/NSF/C08/C08Links/pps99.cryst.bbk.ac.uk/projects/gmocz/fluor.htm Intrinsic Fluorescence of Proteins and Peptides] ] Hence, protein fluorescence may be used as a diagnostic of the conformational state of a protein.cite journal | author = Vivian JT, Callis PR | title = Mechanisms of tryptophan fluorescence shifts in proteins | journal = Biophys. J. | volume = 80 | issue = 5 | pages = 2093–109 | year = 2001 | pmid = 11325713 | doi = | issn = | url = http://www.biophysj.org/cgi/content/abstract/80/5/2093 ] Furthermore, tryptophan fluorescence is strongly influenced by the proximity of other residues ("i.e.", nearby "protonated" groups such as Asp or Glu can cause quenching of Trp fluorescence). Also, energy transfer between tryptophan and the other fluorescent amino acids is possible, which would affect the analysis, especially in cases where the Förster acidic approach is taken. In addition, tryptophan is a relatively rare amino acid; many proteins contain only one or a few tryptophan residues. Therefore, tryptophan fluorescence can be a very sensitive measurement of the conformational state of individual tryptophan residues. The advantage compared to extrinsic probes is that the protein itself is not changed. The use of intrinsic fluorescence for the study of protein conformation is in practice limited to cases with few (or perhaps only one) tryptophan residues, since each experiences a different local environment, which gives rise to different emission spectra.
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.