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    Major pathway of glycine degradation

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    In order to determine the major pathway of glycine degradation, you devise an experiment in which mice are fed 13C(alpha)-labeled glycine, and the livers are then isolated and radioactive intermediates detected by GC-MS. Interestingly, you find that the amino acid serine contains the most radioactivity, and that both the Calpha and Cbeta carbons of the serine residue are labeled with 13C. Explain these observations.

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    Solution Preview

    See the attached file.
    There are two systems at work here that are coupled together: the glycine cleavage complex and the serine hydroxymethyltransferase (SHMT).

    First, glycine is broken down by the glycine-cleavage enzyme system as follows:

    13C(alpha)-labeled ...

    Solution Summary

    This solution is provided in 162 words. It discusses the glycine cleavage complex and the serine hydroxymethyltransferase, and provides a reference and attached figure to enhance understanding of the problem.