The hydrolysis of glutamine
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
Glutamine, the Υ mono-amide of the glutamic acid was recognized and first isolated from beet juice by schulze and Bosshard in 1883. Since that time much investigation has been carried out into the nature of its role in metabolic processes in plants and animals. The compound is present both in the free state and combined in the protein molecule in the tissue of many plants, and also in the blood and organs of animals. In all cases it is a key compound in the processes of nitrogen metabolism. Investigation into the pure chemistry of glutamine has occurred only to the extent that was absolutely necessary for the understanding of its physiological behaviour and very little systematic study has been made on the compound up to the present time. It is not surprising then, that some of the assumptions made concerning its chemistry rest on rather unsure foundations. It exhibits several unique chemical properties, no complete explanation of which has been advanced. Glutamine is of great interest to the biochemist who has been a recent crescendo interest in its roles both in animal and plant physiology. The subject has now reached the stage where further advance towards the elucidation of the many roles of the compound must be retarded unless a more complete understanding of it as a chemical substance is reached. The workers who have done most towards clarifying the chemistry of the compound are Chibnall and Westall and Vickery and his associates. The following facts emerge from the results of their investigations. The chemistry of glutamine has a basis, two reactions, in both of which its behaviour as an amide is unique. They are, the hydrolysis in buffered solution and the reaction with nitrous acid.