These are dicarboxylic acids, although at physiological pH they exist almost entirely in the anionic form and so should be referred to as aspartate and glutamate. They are mainly found on the surfaces of proteins. The free amino acids play a central role in transamination reactions, equilibrating rapidly with their corresponding keto acids oxaloacatate and
2-oxoglutarate. Glutamate is a precursor for the inhibitory neurotransmitter 7-aminobutyric acid (GABA). The monosodium salt of glutamate is used in the food industry as a flavor enhancer.
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