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, any one of a group of relatively small organic molecules required for the catalytic function of certain enzymes. A coenzyme may either be attached by covalent bonds to a particular enzyme or exist freely in solution, but in either case it participates intimately in
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γ-glutamyl cysteinyl glycine, a tripep-tide formed from radicals of three amino acids—glutamic acid, cysteine, and glycine. A peculiarity of the structure of glutathione is the peptide bond between cysteine and glutamic acid, in which the γ-carboxyl of the glutamic acid participates. Glutathione is present in all living organisms and is very important for oxidation-reduction reactions in connection with the capacity of the sulfhydryl group (SH—) of cysteine to undergo the reversible reaction
Glutathione can act as a coenzyme in the action of cathepsins, papain, and other proteolytic enzymes. The function of glutathione in metabolism apparently also includes the protection of the SH group of cytoplasm proteins against oxidation.