Asparagine: An α-Amino Acid

What is Asparagine?

Asparagine is an alpha-amino acid among twenty amino acids that are found in animal proteins. It is used in the biosynthesis of proteins. It comprises of an alpha carboxyl group, alpha-amino group, and a  carboxamide – a side chain further distributing it as polar aliphatic amino acids.


Aliphatic amino acids are hydrophobic and nonpolar. Examples include valine, alanine, leucine, proline, and isoleucine. Structure of aliphatic compounds are unsaturated with double bonds or saturated with a single bond or they even contain triple bonds. There are several elements that bounds to carbon chain namely chlorine, sulphur, nitrogen, and oxygen. They are usually flammable in nature and they are used as liquefied natural gas and hydrocarbons as fuel.

Physical and Chemical Properties

  • The chemical formula of asparagine is C4H8N2O3.
  • This compound has a molar mass of 132.119 grams per mole.
  • Under standard conditions, asparagine has a white, crystalline appearance.
  • The density of this compound corresponds to 1.543 grams per cubic centimeter.
  • The melting and boiling point of asparagine correspond to 507 K and 711 K respectively.
  • Asparagine is somewhat soluble in water – it has a solubility of 2.94 g/100 mL.
  • This compound has an orthorhombic crystal structure.

Asparagine Functions

  • Structural Functions: Residues of asparagine are often found at the top of the alpha-helices in beta-sheets as ASX motifs and ASX turns which are identical to turn motifs.
  • This amino acid aids in the maintenance of equilibrium that is essential for the human central nervous system.
  • It helps in controlling the metabolism activities of the brain.
  • It is also responsible for the proper functioning of our body cells and the nervous system. It prevents from being remarkably calm or extremely nervous.
  • L – an amino acid is a form of amino acid that are constituents of proteins.
  • Asparagine amino acids are non – essential amino acids that are produced by the liver.
  • It plays a vital role in the synthesis of a large number of proteins.

Sources of Asparagine

  • It is available in numerous food sources. It is not essential for human beings as they are incorporated from metabolic pathway transnational. Some of them are stated below.
  • They are found in huge amount as plant proteins.
  • Plant sources include whole grains, soy, nuts, legumes, asparagus, seeds, and potatoes.
  • Animal sources for asparagine include various seafood, whey, poultry, beef, eggs, fish, lactalbumin, and dairy products.
  • They are found in roasted coffee and french fries.

Asparagine Deficiency

Deficiency symptoms caused by asparagine are as follows:

  • Psychosis
  • Headaches
  • Confusions
  • Depression
  • Irritability

To learn more about asparagine, amino acids, and other important types of acids (such as di and polybasic acids and bases), download BYJU’S – The Learning App.

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