Monday, October 08, 2012

Monday's Molecule #189

Last week's molecules were cis Δ9-octadecanic acid (oleic acid) and trans Δ9-octadecanic acid (elaidic acid). Last week's winner was John Runnels. He should email me.

Name this week's molecule. Be sure to give an unambiguous name—it can be the common name or the IUPAC name. Why is this molecule important in some species?

Post your answer as a comment. I'll hold off releasing any comments for 24 hours. The first one with the correct answer wins. I will only post mostly correct answers to avoid embarrassment. The winner will be treated to a free lunch.

There could be two winners. If the first correct answer isn't from an undergraduate student then I'll select a second winner from those undergraduates who post the correct answer. You will need to identify yourself as an undergraduate in order to win. (Put "undergraduate" at the bottom of your comment.)

Some past winners are from distant lands so their chances of taking up my offer of a free lunch are slim. (That's why I can afford to do this!)

In order to win you must post your correct name. Anonymous and pseudoanonymous commenters can't win the free lunch.

Winners will have to contact me by email to arrange a lunch date. Please try and beat the regular winners. Most of them live far away and I'll never get to take them to lunch. This makes me sad.

Comments are now open.
UPDATE: The molecule is 3-hydroxy-4-(trimethylazaniumyl)butanoate or carnitine. This week's winner is Raúl Mancera.

Nov. 2009: Jason Oakley, Alex Ling
Oct. 17: Bill Chaney, Roger Fan
Oct. 24: DK
Oct. 31: Joseph C. Somody
Nov. 7: Jason Oakley
Nov. 15: Thomas Ferraro, Vipulan Vigneswaran
Nov. 21: Vipulan Vigneswaran (honorary mention to Raul A. Félix de Sousa)
Nov. 28: Philip Rodger
Dec. 5: 凌嘉誠 (Alex Ling)
Dec. 12: Bill Chaney
Dec. 19: Joseph C. Somody
Jan. 9: Dima Klenchin
Jan. 23: David Schuller
Jan. 30: Peter Monaghan
Feb. 7: Thomas Ferraro, Charles Motraghi
Feb. 13: Joseph C. Somody
March 5: Albi Celaj
March 12: Bill Chaney, Raul A. Félix de Sousa
March 19: no winner
March 26: John Runnels, Raul A. Félix de Sousa
April 2: Sean Ridout
April 9: no winner
April 16: Raul A. Félix de Sousa
April 23: Dima Klenchin, Deena Allan
April 30: Sean Ridout
May 7: Matt McFarlane
May 14: no winner
May 21: no winner
May 29: Mike Hamilton, Dmitri Tchigvintsev
June 4: Bill Chaney, Matt McFarlane
June 18: Raul A. Félix de Sousa
June 25: Raul A. Félix de Sousa
July 2: Raul A. Félix de Sousa
July 16: Sean Ridout, William Grecia
July 23: Raul A. Félix de Sousa
July 30: Bill Chaney and Raul A. Félix de Sousa
Aug. 7: Raul A. Félix de Sousa
Aug. 13: Matt McFarlane
Aug. 20: Stephen Spiro
Aug. 27: Raul A. Félix de Sousa
Sept. 3: Matt McFarlane
Sept. 10: Matt Talarico
Sept. 17: no winner
Sept. 24: Mikkel Rasmussen
Oct. 1: John Runnels
Oct. 8: Raúl Mancera


  1. It's carnitine, or 3-hydroxy-4-(trimethylazaniumyl)butanoate.

    I live in a distant land, so I can't win the lunch :(

  2. This is Carnitine, it's important in fatty acid metabolism.

  3. Molecule # 189 is carnitine, or 3-hydroxi-4-(trimethylammonio) butanoate. It is used by organisms to transport acyl groups of long-chain fatty acids into the mitochondria.

  4. L-Carnitine. Used to transport long-chain acyl groups from fatty acids to the mitochondrial matrix, and also as an antioxidant.

  5. The molecule is carnitine, it helps shuttle long chain fatty acids into the mitochondrial matrix for beta oxidation

  6. The molecules is (L)- Carnitine (3-hydroxy-4-(trimethylazaniumyl)butanoate) which is a quaternary ammonium compound biosynthesized from the amino acids lysine and methionine.

    In living cells, it is important for the transport of fatty acids from the cytosol into the mitochondria during the breakdown of lipids (fats) for the generation of metabolic energy.

    Obert Marín Sánchez
    Undergradute (Peru)

  7. Carnitine
    IUPAC 3-hydroxy-4-(trimethylammonio)butanoate

    it is required for the transport of fatty acids from the cytosol into the mitochondria for energy metabolism. Only the L-form is active

  8. This is 3-hydroxy-4-(trimethylazaniumyl)butanoate, better known as L-carnitine.
    It is used in animal cells to transport fatty acids across the mitochondrial membranes for their degradation by beta-oxidation