Molecular and cellular biochemistry

Gamma-carboxyglutamic acid.

PMID 6458761


Gamma-carboxyglutamic acid is an amino acid with a dicarboxylic acid side chain. This amino acid, with unique metal binding properties, confers metal binding character to the proteins into which it is incorporated. This amino acid has been discovered in blood coagulation proteins (prothrombin, Factor X, Factor IX, and Factor VII), plasma proteins of unknown function (Protein C, Protein S, and Protein Z), and proteins from calcified tissue (osteocalcin and bone-Gla protein). It has also been observed in renal calculi, atherosclerotic plaque, and the egg chorioallantoic membrane, among other tissues. Gamma-carboxyglutamic acid is synthesized by the post-translational modification of glutamic acid residues. This reaction, catalyzed by a hepatic carboxylase, requires reduced vitamin K, oxygen, and carbon dioxide. The function of gamma-carboxyglutamic acid is uncertain. In prothrombin gamma-carboxyglutamic acid residues bound to metal ions participate as an intramolecular non-covalent bridge to maintain protein conformation. Additionally, these amino acids participate in the calcium-dependent molecular assembly of proteins on membrane surfaces through intermolecular bridges involving gamma-carboxyglutamic acid and metal ions.