CC BY 4.0 · Pharmaceutical Fronts 2020; 02(02): e79-e87
DOI: 10.1055/s-0040-1713820
Review Article
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Natural Occurrence, Biological Functions, and Analysis of D-Amino Acids

Shuang-Xi Gu
1  Pharmaceutical Research Institute, Wuhan Institute of Technology, Wuhan, People's Republic of China
2  Key Laboratory for Green Chemical Process of Ministry of Education, School of Chemical Engineering & Pharmacy, Wuhan Institute of Technology, Wuhan, People's Republic of China
,
Hai-Feng Wang
1  Pharmaceutical Research Institute, Wuhan Institute of Technology, Wuhan, People's Republic of China
2  Key Laboratory for Green Chemical Process of Ministry of Education, School of Chemical Engineering & Pharmacy, Wuhan Institute of Technology, Wuhan, People's Republic of China
,
Yuan-Yuan Zhu
3  School of Chemistry & Environmental Engineering, Wuhan Institute of Technology, Wuhan, People's Republic of China
,
Fen-Er Chen
1  Pharmaceutical Research Institute, Wuhan Institute of Technology, Wuhan, People's Republic of China
4  Department of Chemistry, Fudan University, Shanghai, People's Republic of China
› Author Affiliations
Acknowledgments The support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 21602164, 21877087) is greatly appreciated.
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
07 July 2020 (online)

  

Abstract

This review covers the recent development on the natural occurrence, functional elucidations, and analysis of amino acids of the D (dextro) configuration. In the pharmaceutical field, amino acids are not only used directly as clinical drugs and nutriments, but also widely applied as starting materials, catalysts, or chiral ligands for the synthesis of active pharmaceutical ingredients. Earler belief hold that only L-amino acids exist in nature and D-amino acids were artificial products. However, increasing evidence indicates that D-amino acids are naturally occurring in living organisms including human beings, plants, and microorganisms, playing important roles in biological processes. While D-amino acids have similar physical and chemical characteristics with their respective L-enantiomers in an achiral measurement, the biological functions of D-amino acids are remarkably different from those of L-ones. With the rapid development of chiral analytical techniques for D-amino acids, studies on the existence, formation mechanisms, biological functions as well as relevant physiology and pathology of D-amino acids have achieved great progress; however, they are far from being sufficiently explored.