Humpath.com - Human pathology

Home > A. Molecular pathology > taurine

taurine

Wednesday 27 May 2009

Definition: Taurine, or 2-aminoethanesulfonic acid, is an organic acid.

Taurine is a derivative of the sulfur-containing (sulfhydryl) amino acid, cysteine. Taurine is one of the few known naturally occurring sulfonic acids.

Taurine is named after the Latin taurus, which means bull or ox, as it was first isolated from ox bile in 1827 by German scientists Friedrich Tiedemann and Leopold Gmelin.

Taurine is often called an amino acid, even in scientific literature, but as it lacks a carboxyl group it is not strictly an amino acid. Taurine does contain a sulfonate group and may be called an amino sulfonic acid. Small polypeptides have been identified which contain taurine, but to date no aminoacyl tRNA synthetase has been identified as specifically recognizing taurine and capable of incorporating it onto a tRNA.

Biosynthesis

For mammalian taurine synthesis occurs in the pancreas via the cysteine sulfinic acid pathway. In this pathway, the sulfhydryl group of cysteine is first oxidized to cysteine sulfinic acid by the enzyme cysteine dioxygenase.

Cysteine sulfinic acid, in turn, is decarboxylated by sulfinoalanine decarboxylase to form hypotaurine. It is unclear whether hypotaurine is then spontaneously or enzymatically oxidized to yield taurine.

See also

- [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taurine Wikipedia]