Nonenzymatic deamidation of asparaginyl and glutaminyl residues in proteins

Crit Rev Biochem Mol Biol. 1991;26(1):1-52. doi: 10.3109/10409239109081719.


Some asparagine and glutamine residues in proteins undergo deamidation to aspartate and glutamate with rates that depend upon the sequence and higher-order structure of the protein. Functional groups within the protein can catalyze this reaction, acting as general acids, bases, or stabilizers of the transition state. Information from specific proteins that deamidate and analysis of protein sequence and structure data bases suggest that asparagine and glutamine lability has been a selective pressure in the evolution of protein sequence and folding. Asparagine and glutamine deamidation can affect protein structure and function in natural and engineered mutant sequences, and may play a role in the regulation of protein folding, protein breakdown, and aging.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amides
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Asparagine / metabolism*
  • Aspartic Acid / metabolism
  • Glutamates / metabolism
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Glutamine / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational*


  • Amides
  • Glutamates
  • Glutamine
  • Aspartic Acid
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Asparagine