Tryptophan

Abbrev. W, Trp
Full Name Tryptophan
Side chain type
hydrophilic
Mass
204.23
pl
5.89
pK1(α-COOH)
2.46
pK2(α-+NH3)
9.41

Side chain -CH2C8H6N
Hydro- phobic
yes
Polar
no
Charged
no
Small
no
Tiny
no
Aromatic or Aliphatic
Aromatic
van der Waals volume
163
Codon
UGG
Occurrence in proteins (%)
1.4

Remarks: Essential for humans. Behaves similarly to phenylalanine and tyrosine (see phenylalanine). Precursor of serotonin.

Tryptophan is an amino acid and essential in human nutrition. It is one of the 20 amino acids in the genetic code (codon UGG). Only the L-stereoisomer appears in mammalian protein.

Function

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that humans cannot live without consuming. Amino acids function as building blocks in protein biosynthesis.

Tryptophan is a precursor for serotonin (a neurotransmitter), melatonin (a neurohormone), and niacin. The functional group of tryptophan is indole.

Tryptophan has been implicated as a possible cause of schizophrenia in people who cannot metabolize it properly. When improperly metabolized, it creates a waste product in the brain that is toxic, causing hallucinations and delusions. Tryptophan has also been indicated as an aid for schizophrenic patients.

Dietary sources

Tryptophan, found as a component of dietary protein, is particularly plentiful in chocolate, oats, bananas, dried dates, milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, meat, fish, turkey, chicken, sesame and peanuts.

 

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