USMLE

Glutamate

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Amino Acids
  1. Serine
  2. Asparagine
  3. Alanine
  4. Valine
  5. Leucine
  6. Isoleucine
  7. Phenylalanine
  8. Tryptophan
  9. Methionine
  10. Proline
  11. Glycine
  12. Threonine
  13. Cysteine
  14. Tyrosine
  15. Glutamine
  16. Aspartate
  17. Glutamate
  18. Histidine
  19. Lysine
  20. Arginine

Summary

Glutamate, which abbreviates to the 3-letter Glu or 1-letter E, is one of the 20 amino acids that make up proteins in our body. Glutamate’s R-group is a carboxylic acid at the end of a longer, 2-carbon chain. Due to its two oxygens, glutamate is a polar, hydrophilic amino acid. The carboxylic acid can also act as a proton donor, making glutamate an acidic, negatively charged amino acid at physiological pH. 

Key Points

  • Glutamate
    • Also known as Glutamic Acid
    • Abbreviations
      • Glu, E
    • Chemical Structure
    • R-Group: -CH2-CH2-Carboxyl
      • Carboxyl
        • Contrast vs. Glutamine (which has amide instead of carboxyl)
        • “-ate” ending denotes ionic form of carboxylic acid
      • 2 bridging methylene carbons (-CH2-CH2-)
        • Contrast vs. Aspartate (only 1 bridging carbon)
    • Polarity
      • Polar (water soluble/hydrophilic)
    • Acidity/Basicity
      • Acidic
      • pKa = 4 (rounded)
    • Charge at pH 7
      • Negative (-)
    • Other Information
      • Called Glutamic Acid when deprotonated