Deamination of Amino-Acids by X-Rays

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RECENTLY we have isolated products of hydroxylation from dilute aqueous solutions of benzene and benzoic acid irradiated with ionizing radiations (X-rays, γ-rays, neutrons)1. The formation of phenolic compounds in these experiments furnished experimental evidence in support of the theory put forward by one of us2 in 1944, according to which the primary action of ionizing radiations results in the splitting of the water molecules according to,presumably through the ions H2O+ and H2O. These reaction products are similar to those obtained from the same substances by the action of OH-radicals produced chemically (for example, by the hydrogen peroxide – ferrous salt system), or in the biological oxidation of these substances3. We have now found that irradiation by X-rays of dilute aqueous solutions of certain simple amino-acids results in an (oxidative) deamination yielding ammonia, and the corresponding aldehydes similar to those obtained from the same substances in vitro by the action of OH-radicals produced chemically4.

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  1. 1

    Stein and Weiss, Nature, 161, 650 (1948).

  2. 2

    Weiss, Nature, 153, 748 (1944); 157, 584 (1946); Trans. Farad. Soc., 43, 314 (1947).

  3. 3

    For example, Baernstein, J. Biol. Chem., 161, 685 (1945).

  4. 4

    a, Dakin, J. Biol. Chem., 1, 171 (1906); 4, 63 (1908). b, Neuberg, Biochem. Z., 20, 531 (1909).

  5. 5

    Cf. Krebs, Biochem. J., 29, 1620 (1935).

  6. 6

    Kollatz and Neuberg, Biochem. Z., 255, 27 (1932).

  7. 7

    Wirth and Nord, Arch. Biochem., 2, 463 (1943). Sprinson and Chargaff, J. Biol. Chem., 164, 411 (1946).

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STEIN, G., WEISS, J. Deamination of Amino-Acids by X-Rays. Nature 162, 184 (1948) doi:10.1038/162184a0

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