Phenylalanine ammonia-lyase
In enzymology, a phenylalanine ammonia-lyase is an enzyme
Enzymes are proteins that catalyze chemical reactions. In enzymatic reactions, the molecules at the beginning of the process, called substrates, are converted into different molecules, called products. Almost all chemical reactions in a biological cell need enzymes in order to occur at rates...

 that catalyzes
Catalysis is the change in rate of a chemical reaction due to the participation of a substance called a catalyst. Unlike other reagents that participate in the chemical reaction, a catalyst is not consumed by the reaction itself. A catalyst may participate in multiple chemical transformations....

 the chemical reaction
Chemical reaction
A chemical reaction is a process that leads to the transformation of one set of chemical substances to another. Chemical reactions can be either spontaneous, requiring no input of energy, or non-spontaneous, typically following the input of some type of energy, such as heat, light or electricity...

L-phenylalanine trans-cinnamate + NH3

Hence, this enzyme has one substrate
Substrate (biochemistry)
In biochemistry, a substrate is a molecule upon which an enzyme acts. Enzymes catalyze chemical reactions involving the substrate. In the case of a single substrate, the substrate binds with the enzyme active site, and an enzyme-substrate complex is formed. The substrate is transformed into one or...

, L-phenylalanine
Phenylalanine is an α-amino acid with the formula C6H5CH2CHCOOH. This essential amino acid is classified as nonpolar because of the hydrophobic nature of the benzyl side chain. L-Phenylalanine is an electrically neutral amino acid, one of the twenty common amino acids used to biochemically form...

, and two products
Product (chemistry)
Product are formed during chemical reactions as reagents are consumed. Products have lower energy than the reagents and are produced during the reaction according to the second law of thermodynamics. The released energy comes from changes in chemical bonds between atoms in reagent molecules and...

, trans-cinnamic acid
Cinnamic acid
Cinnamic acid is a white crystalline organic acid, which is slightly soluble in water.It is obtained from oil of cinnamon, or from balsams such as storax. It is also found in shea butter and is the best indication of its environmental history and post-extraction conditions...

 and ammonia
Ammonia is a compound of nitrogen and hydrogen with the formula . It is a colourless gas with a characteristic pungent odour. Ammonia contributes significantly to the nutritional needs of terrestrial organisms by serving as a precursor to food and fertilizers. Ammonia, either directly or...


This enzyme belongs to the family of lyase
In biochemistry, a lyase is an enzyme that catalyzes the breaking of various chemical bonds by means other than hydrolysis and oxidation, often forming a new double bond or a new ring structure...

s, to be specific ammonia lyases, which cleave carbon-nitrogen bonds. The systematic name of this enzyme class is L-phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (trans-cinnamate-forming). Previously, it was designated , but that class has been redesignated as EC (phenylalanine ammonia-lyases), (tyrosine ammonia-lyases), and (phenylalanine/tyrosine ammonia-lyases). Other names in common use include tyrase, phenylalanine deaminase, tyrosine ammonia-lyase, L-tyrosine ammonia-lyase, phenylalanine ammonium-lyase, PAL, and L-phenylalanine ammonia-lyase. This enzyme participates in 5 metabolic pathways
Metabolism is the set of chemical reactions that happen in the cells of living organisms to sustain life. These processes allow organisms to grow and reproduce, maintain their structures, and respond to their environments. Metabolism is usually divided into two categories...

: tyrosine metabolism, phenylalanine metabolism, nitrogen metabolism, phenylpropanoid
The phenylpropanoids are a diverse family of organic compounds that are synthesized by plants from the amino acid phenylalanine. Their name is derived from the six-carbon, aromatic phenyl group and the three-carbon propene tail of cinnamic acid, which is synthesized from phenylalanine in the first...

 biosynthesis, and alkaloid biosynthesis ii.

Structural studies

As of late 2007, 5 structures
Tertiary structure
In biochemistry and molecular biology, the tertiary structure of a protein or any other macromolecule is its three-dimensional structure, as defined by the atomic coordinates.-Relationship to primary structure:...

 have been solved for this class of enzymes, with PDB
Protein Data Bank
The Protein Data Bank is a repository for the 3-D structural data of large biological molecules, such as proteins and nucleic acids....

accession codes , , , , and .
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