D-Alanine: Distribution, origin, physiological relevance, and implications in disease

Cindy J. Lee, Tian A. Qiu, Jonathan V. Sweedler

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


D-Alanine (D-Ala) is an unusual endogenous amino acid present in invertebrates and vertebrates. Compared to its L-isomer, the characterization of D-Ala is challenging because of the need for chiral resolution and the low amounts of the D-enantiomer present. With recent improvements in measurement capabilities, research on D-Ala, along with other D-amino acids, has been growing, especially as the functional significance of D-Ala in the mammalian nervous and endocrine systems is becoming known. Here we provide an overview of the distribution, origin, function, and disease implications of D-Ala.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number140482
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Proteins and Proteomics
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2020


  • Chiral metabolites
  • D-alanine
  • D-amino acids
  • Disease
  • Host-microbe
  • NMDA receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry


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