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Physics Colloquium - Friday, December 4th, 2009, 3:00 P.M.

E300 Math/Science Center; Refreshments at 2:30 P.M. in Room E200

Aimin Liu
Department of Chemistry
Georgia State University

Mechanistic Enzymology of Tryptophan Oxidation

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid for humans. The catabolic biochemistry of this amino acid has been tightly associated with neuroscience because of serotonin, a catabolic product of tryptophan in the brain that functions as a neurotransmitter. In the past two decades, tryptophan's connection to neuroscience has been extended by the discovery that some of the kynurenine pathway in humans that degrades >99% of tryptophan and is of obvious fundamental importance in human metabolism. This presentation will provide an overview of enzymes involved in the kynurenine pathway and discuss specifically our recent work on the mechanistic enzymology of the kynurenine pathway using a combination of physical and biochemical approach.