Carnitine is readily synthesized from lysine. As a cofactor, carnitine takes part in the membrane-bound enzyme system that transports fatty acids into the mitochondria for energy oxidation. Two enzymes, carnitine acyl transferase I and carnitine acyl transferase II, comprise a cycle that delivers the fatty acid as an acyl carnitine derivative to the interior of the mitochondria and returns the carnitine to the cytosolic side for further transport (Figure 11). The structure of carnitine with its hydroxyl group on C-3 is ideally suited for forming an acyl bound with a fatty acid.
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