Deamination is a means of amino acid degradation that predominantly occurs in the liver. It entails the loss of an amino (-NH2) group that is used to produce ammonia. Ammonia is free to enter the urea cycle.
The amino acid is converted to an oxoacid. The oxoacid is free to enter other metabolic pathways; several tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediates are produced in this way. During the reaction, a coenzyme is usually reduced when the amino acid is oxidized to an imino acid by dehydrogenation. The coenzyme may be FAD or NAD depending on the enzyme. The reduced coenzyme can be used to generate ATP.
Examples of enzymes involved in oxidative deamination include amino acid oxidase and glutamate dehydrogenase.
Last reviewed 01/2018