-amino acids have been detected in a variety of peptides synthesized by animal cells. These include opiate and antimicrobial peptides from amphibian skin, neuropeptides from snail ganglia, a hormone from crustaceans, and a constituent of a spider venom. cDNA cloning has shown that at those positions where a -amino acid is found in the end-product, a normal codon for the corresponding -amino acid is present. This implies that the -residues are formed from -amino acids by a posttranslational reaction. A prototype enzyme catalyzing such a reaction has recently been isolated from the venom of the funnel web spider.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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