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Enzymatic Formation of β-Cyanoalanine from Cyanide by Escherichia coli Extracts


BLUMENTHAL-GOLDSCHMIDT et al.1 demonstrated that carbon-14 atoms from 14C-labelled HCN supplied to several types of seedling became incorporated almost exclusively into the amide-C of asparagine. Subsequent work2,3 indicated that these authors had selected, somewhat fortuitously, mainly asparagine-synthesizing species rather than others which incorporated 14C-cyanide almost entirely into a dipeptide, γ-glutamyl-β-cyano-alanine. This γ-glutamyl peptide is known as a normal constituent only of certain Vicia species4,5; its formation in other species is apparently dependent on an exogenous supply of cyanide.

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DUNNILL, P., FOWDEN, L. Enzymatic Formation of β-Cyanoalanine from Cyanide by Escherichia coli Extracts. Nature 208, 1206–1207 (1965).

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