Vitamin K: Structure and Function


Vitamin K is a cofactor specific to the vitamin K‐dependent γ‐glutamyl carboxylase and the formation of the amino acid γ‐carboxyglutamic acid (Gla). Numerous Gla‐containing proteins have been identified to date, including those involved in blood coagulation, but there are still significant gaps in knowledge about the physiological roles of many of these proteins.

Keywords: vitamin K; γ‐carboxyglutamic acid; warfarin; metabolism

Figure 1.

Structures of different forms of vitamin K.

Figure 2.

The vitamin K cycle.

Figure 3.

Structure of dicumarol and its synthetic analogue, warfarin.



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Further Reading

Almquist HJ (1975) The early history of vitamin K. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 28: 656–659.

Ferland G (1998) The vitamin K‐dependent proteins: an update. Nutrition Reviews 56: 223–230.

Olson RE (1999) Vitamin K. In: Shils ME, Olson JA and Moshe S (eds) Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins.

Poller L and Hirsh J (1996) Oral Anticoagulants. London: Arnold.

Suttie JW (1995) The importance of menaquinones in human nutrition. Annual Reviews in Nutrition 15: 399–417.

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Booth, Sarah L, and Saltzman, Edward(Apr 2001) Vitamin K: Structure and Function. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0001411]