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The organic compound citrulline is an α-amino acid. Its name is derived from citrullus, the Latin word for watermelon, from which it was first isolated in 1930. It has the idealized formula H2NC(O)NH(CH2)3CH(NH2)CO2H. It is a key intermediate in the urea cycle, the pathway by which mammals excrete ammonia. Citrulline is a substituted urea.
Additional recommended knowledge
Citrulline is made from ornithine and carbamoyl phosphate in one of the central reactions in the urea cycle. It is also produced from arginine as a by-product of the reaction catalyzed by NOS family (NOS; EC 18.104.22.168). Arginine is first oxidized into N-hydroxyl-arginine, which is then further oxidized to citrulline concomitant with release of nitric oxide. When starved for arginine, organisms will convert ornithine to citrulline, which in turn gives arginine.
Although citrulline is not coded for by DNA directly, several proteins are known to contain citrulline as a result of a posttranslational modification. These citrulline residues are generated by a family of enzymes called peptidylarginine deiminases (PADs), which convert arginine into citrulline in a process called citrullination or deimination. Proteins that normally contain citrulline residues include myelin basic protein (MBP), filaggrin, and several histone proteins, whereas other proteins, such as fibrin and vimentin are susceptible to citrullination during cell death and tissue inflammation.
Patients with rheumatoid arthritis often (at least 80% of them) develop an immune response against proteins containing citrulline. Although the origin of this immune response is not known, detection of antibodies reactive with citrulline containing proteins or peptides is now becoming an important help in the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis.
Citrulline in the form of citrulline malate is sold as a performance-enhancing athletic dietary supplement which is said to reduce muscle fatigue. 
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Citrulline". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|