Although they are uncharged, these molecules are strongly polar. They are often found on the surface of proteins, where they can form hydrogen bonds with water or with other polar molecules. The conversion of glutamate to glutamine is central to the disposal of ammonia and to the maintenance of acid-base balance. Glutamine is a precursor for the synthesis of purines and pyrimidines. It is also a precursor for gluconeogenesis, and it is the main source of energy for enterocytes and leucocytes. There is evidence that glutamine may play a role in the control of protein metabolism and that it may be beneficial in augmenting the immune response in critically ill patients.
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