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(sĕr`ēn), organic compound, one of the 20 amino acidsamino acid
, any one of a class of simple organic compounds containing carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and in certain cases sulfur. These compounds are the building blocks of proteins.
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 commonly found in animal proteins. Only the l-stereoisomer appears in mammalian protein. It is not essential to the human diet, since it can be synthesized in the body from other metabolites, including glycineglycine
, organic compound, one of the 20 amino acids commonly found in animal proteins. Glycine is the only one of these amino acids that is not optically active, i.e., it does not have d- and
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. Serine is important in metabolism in that it participates in the biosynthesis of purinespurine,
type of organic base found in the nucleotides and nucleic acids of plant and animal tissue. The German chemist Emil Fischer did much of the basic work on purines and introduced the term into the chemical literature in the early 20th cent.
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 and pyrimidinespyrimidine
, type of organic base found in certain coenzymes and in the nucleic acids of plant and animal tissue. The three major pyrimidines of almost universal distribution in living systems are cytosine, thymine, and uracil.
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, cysteinecysteine
, organic compound, one of the 20 amino acids commonly found in animal proteins. Only the l-stereoisomer participates in the biosynthesis of mammalian protein.
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, tryptophantryptophan
, organic compound, one of the 20 amino acids commonly found in animal proteins. Only the l-stereoisomer appears in mammalian protein.
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 (in bacteria), and a large number of other metabolites. When incorporated into the structure of enzymes, serine often plays an important role in their catalytic function. It has been shown to occur in the active sites of chymotrypsinchymotrypsin
, proteolytic, or protein-digesting, enzyme active in the mammalian intestinal tract. It catalyzes the hydrolysis of proteins, degrading them into smaller molecules called peptides. Peptides are further split into free amino acids.
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, trypsintrypsin,
enzyme that acts to degrade protein; it is often referred to as a proteolytic enzyme, or proteinase. Trypsin is one of the three principal digestive proteinases, the other two being pepsin and chymotrypsin.
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, and many other enzymes. The so-called nerve gases and many substances used in insecticides have been shown to act by combining with a residue of serine in the active site of acetylcholine esterase, inhibiting the enzyme completely. Without the esterase activity that usually destroys acetylcholineacetylcholine
, a small organic molecule liberated at nerve endings as a neurotransmitter. It is particularly important in the stimulation of muscle tissue. The transmission of an impulse to the end of the nerve causes it to release neurotransmitter molecules onto the surface of
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 as soon as it performs its function, dangerously high levels of this neurotransmitter build up, quickly resulting in convulsions and death. Serine was first obtained from silk protein, a particularly rich source, in 1865; its structure was established in 1902.



(also, α-amino-β-hydroxypropionic acid), HOCH2CH(NH2)COOH, a naturally occurring amino acid. Serine exists in two optically active forms, namely, the L and D forms, and in the racemic, or DL, form. Practically all proteins contain L-serine. The proteins of silk are especially rich in serine; fibroin contains up to 16 percent, and sericin up to <0 percent. Serine was isolated from sericin in 1865 by the German chemist E. Cramer. Phosphoesters of serine also enter into the composition of proteins. Serine is a replaceable amino acid; its precursor in biosynthesis by living organisms is D-3-phosphoglyceric acid, an intermediate product of glycolysis. In cells, serine participates in the biosynthesis of glycine, sulfur-containing amino acids (methionine, cysteine), and tryptophan, as well as of ethanolamine and sphingolipids. It serves as a source for a monocarbon fragment (conversion to glycine with the participation of tetrahydrofolic acid), which plays an important role in the biosynthesis of choline and purines:

Serine + Tetrahydrofolic acid → Glycine + N5, N10-methylene-tetrahydrofolic acid

Upon the decomposition of serine in organisms, pyruvic acid is formed, which is introduced into the tricarboxylic acid cycle by means of conversion into acetyl coenzyme A. The catalytic function of a series of enzymes (chymotrypsin, trypsin, bacterial proteases, esterases, phosphorylase, phosphoglucomutase, alkaline phosphatase) derives from the reactivity of the hy-droxyl group of the serine residue, which forms part of the active site of these enzymes. Reactions of the enzymes of the serine group include the hydrolysis of peptides, amides, and the esters of carboxylic acids and the transfer of the residue of phosphoric acid. The antibiotics cycloserine and azaserine are derivatives of serine.


Lehninger, A. Biokhimiia. Moscow, 1974. (Translated from English.)



C3H7O3N An amino acid obtained by hydrolysis of many proteins; a biosynthetic precursor of several metabolites, including cysteine, glycine, and choline.
References in periodicals archive ?
High dose D-serine in the treatment of schizophrenia.
Feasibility safety, and efficacy of the combination of D-serine and computerized cognitive retraining in schizophrenia: an international collaborative pilot study Neuropsychopharmacology.
The new study strongly suggested that D-serine, produced in the female sexual organs might have a role in guiding pollen tubes to their final target.
We report here a method for measuring D-serine in CSF using 4-(dimethylamino) azobenzene-4'-sulfonyl (dabsyl) chloride labeling and HPLC separation techniques with a simple UV-visible detector.
2 [micro]mol/L) of D-serine and L-serine 5 times on the same day and calculated within-day reproducibility.
Glutamatergic drugs in development Target Proposed Proposed agents Phase of mechanism development Glycine/D-serine Ailosteric Glycine, Phase II receptor modulator of the D-serine, NM DA receptor D-alanine, D-cycloserine Glycine-type I Blocks the Sarcosine, Phase transport I reuptake of RG1678 II/III inhibitor glycine, akin to SSRIs' action on serotonin Metabotropic Blocks LY-2140023 Phase II glutamate; type 2/3 presynaptic (mGluR2/3); glutamate release Redox sensitive site Allosteric N-acetylcysteine Phase II modulator of the NMDA receptor D-amino acid oxidase Inhibits the Remains in (DAAO) inhibitors enzyme that preclinical metabolizes stage D-serine Tetrahydrobiopterin Indirectly Remains in (B [H.
Studies have used glycine administered at doses up to 60 g/d, D-serine up to 8 g/d, or D-alanine approximately 6 g/d.
The following recording protocol was used for experiments in which NMDA plus D-serine was the only test substance: the first 5-min recording period was a BVC acclimation period, followed by a Con A control period (C), and a first treatment period (T1) containing NMDA and D-serine; this period was continued for an additional 5 min and then considered the second treatment period (T2).
NMDA, kainate, Con A, and D-serine were purchased from Sigma-Aldrich Corporation (St.
For example, NR3 subunits in rats co-assemble with NR1 subunits and form excitatory glycine receptors, which are unresponsive to glutamate or NMDA application and are inhibited by D-serine (Chatterton et al.
Glycine and D-serine increase the affinity of N-methyl-D-aspartate sensitive glutamate binding sites in rat brain synaptic membranes.
Another amino acid, D-serine, may be most promising of all.