noun. a non-vital amino acid found in most proteins. It is a precursor of the catecholamine neuro-transmitters: norepinephrine, dopamine, and epinephrine, that vary anatomically only in the group at one position of the molecule.
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an enzyme which catalyzes the initial, and rate-restricting, step during the biosynthesis of the catecholamine neurotransmitters known as epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine. It converts dietary tyrosine, utilizing the component enzyme known as tetrahydrobiopterin and also molecular oxygen, to L-dopa.