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.

Table of Contents


It comprises 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. The structure of aliphatic compounds is unsaturated with double bonds or saturated with a single bond, or they even contain triple bonds. There are several elements that bounds to the 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 centimetre.
  • 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 which 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 constituent 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 amounts 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

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs


What is asparagine used for?

Supplemental nutrition, as well as the treatment of dietary deficiency or imbalance. An amino acid that isn’t required for life. Asparagine is required for the creation of proteins, enzymes, and muscle tissue in the body. This amino acid supplement is said to help balance nervous system function.


Why is asparagine so important?

Finally, we show that cancer cell proliferation requires the preservation of intracellular asparagine levels. Asparagine is an essential regulator of cancer cell amino acid balance, anabolic metabolism, and proliferation, according to our findings.


Where is asparagine found?

Asparagine can be found in a variety of plant-based foods, including whole grains, nuts & seeds, soy, and some vegetables (yes, including asparagus). Dairy products, eggs, fish, seafood, meat, and chicken all contain high levels of it.


What is the R group of asparagine?

Both asparagine and glutamine, which were first isolated from asparagus, have amide R groups. The amino group (NH2) can act as a hydrogen bond donor, while the carbonyl group can act as a hydrogen bond acceptor.


Why do tumor cells need asparagine?

Asparagine is required for protein synthesis and cell development in all cells. The majority of asparagine required by normal cells is produced by the cells themselves. Cancer cells, like normal cells, require asparagine to grow and proliferate, but most cancer cells cannot create enough of it.

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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