Protein Metabolism

After a meal there is an increase in the synthesis of tissue protein from absorbed amino acids and the increased availability of metabolic fuel to provide ATP for protein synthesis. During fasting some of the relatively labile protein laid down in response to a meal can be mobilized and the amino acids used both as a metabolic fuel and as a source of TCA cycle intermediates for gluconeogenesis.

After removal of the nitrogen-containing amino group of amino acids, their carbon skeletons can undergo gluconeogenesis (gluconeogenic amino acids only), be converted into ketone bodies via acetyl-CoA (ketogenic amino acids), be fully oxidized to CO2 and H2O, be converted into fat or glycogen for storage, or be used as a precursor for a wide range of important biomolecules (Figure 8).

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