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Phenylalanine racemase (ATP-hydrolysing)

  The enzyme phenylalanine racemase is of the enzyme category EC 5.1.1 (acting on amino acids and derivatives). It activates both the L & D stereo isomers of phenylalanine to form L-phenylalanyl adenylate and D-phenylalanyl adenylate, which are bound to the enzyme. These bound compounds are then transferred to the thiol group of the enzyme followed by conversion of its configuration, the D-isomer being the more favorable configuration of the two, with a 7 to 3 ratio between the two isomers. The racemasation reaction of phenylalanine is coupled with the highly favorable hydrolysis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to adenosine monophosphate (AMP) and pyrophosphate (PP), thermodynamically allowing it to proceed. This reaction is then drawn forward by further hydrolyzing PP to inorganic phosphate (Pi), via Le Chatelier's principle.


Other names

  • phenylalanine racemase
  • phenylalanine racemase (adenosine triphosphate-hydrolysing)
  • gramicidin S synthetase I


  • Phenylalanine Metabolism



  • D - Phenylalanine


  • Pyridoxal-phosphate (active form of vitamin B6)

Links to disease

Problems in the digestion of phenylalanine (phe) to tyrosine (tyr) lead to the build up of both phe and phenylpyruvte, in a disease called Phenylketonuria (PKU). These two compounds build up in the blood stream and cerebral spinal fluid, which can lead to mental retardation if left untreated. Treatment consists of a restricted diet of foods that contain phe or compounds that can breakdown into phe. Children in the US are routinely tested for this at birth. For more information see the Phenylketonuria page or the link below.

Database links

  • KEGG
  • ExPASy
  • PDB

ID Numbers

  • UniProt: P14687
  • PDB: 1amu
  • ECnumber:
  • CAS: 37290-95-2

Quick facts

  • pH Range = 7.2 – 8.6
  • Equilibrium Ratio:
    L-Phe:D-Phe = 3:7
  • Specific Activity: 0.019

The reaction

L-Phenylanaline Phenylanaline Racemase D-Phenylanaline

Compound C00079 at KEGG Pathway Database. Compound C00002 at KEGG Pathway Database. Enzyme at KEGG Pathway Database. Compound C00020 at KEGG Pathway Database. Compound C00013 at KEGG Pathway Database. Compound C00001 at KEGG Pathway Database. Reaction R00686 at KEGG Pathway Database. Pathway MAP00360 at KEGG Pathway Database. Compound C00018 at KEGG Pathway Database. |}

The pathway

The Phenylalanine Metabolism Pathway from the KEGG website. Phenylalanine Racemase Enzyme is in red.


  • Learn more about PKU at

See also


  • Takahashi H, Sato E, Kurahashi K (1971). "Racemization of phenylalanine by adenosine triphosphate-dependent phenylalanine racemase of Bacillus brevis Nagano". J. Biochem. 69 (5): 973-6. PMID 5577156.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Phenylalanine_racemase_(ATP-hydrolysing)". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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