News tagged with amino acids

Related topics: protein , cells , enzyme , proceedings of the national academy of sciences , genes

A new angle on infertility

Scientists from the RIKEN BioResource Center in Tsukuba, Japan, have discovered that a single mutation in the beta-catenin gene, which codes a protein known to be deeply involved in a number of developmental and homeostatic ...

Nov 07, 2014
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Conspicuous tRNA lookalikes riddle the human genome

Transfer RNAs (tRNAs) are ancient workhorse molecules and part of the cellular process that creates the proteins, critical building blocks of life that keep a cell running smoothly. A new discovery suggests ...

Oct 08, 2014
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Researchers identify early sign of pancreatic cancer

Scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and other institutions have discovered a sign of the early development of pancreatic cancer – an upsurge in certain ...

Sep 28, 2014
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The cancer that kills men

Researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology are pioneering the use of a radioactive tracer in combination with PET MRI imaging to help some prostate cancer patients avoid lengthy and ...

Sep 04, 2014
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Novel drug action against solid tumors explained

Researchers at UC Davis, City of Hope, Taipai Medical University and National Health Research Institutes in Taiwan have discovered how a drug that deprives the cells of a key amino acid specifically kills ...

Aug 11, 2014
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Amino acid

In chemistry, an amino acid is a molecule containing both amine and carboxyl functional groups. These molecules are particularly important in biochemistry, where this term refers to alpha-amino acids with the general formula H2NCHRCOOH, where R is an organic substituent. In the alpha amino acids, the amino and carboxylate groups are attached to the same carbon atom, which is called the α–carbon. The various alpha amino acids differ in which side chain (R group) is attached to their alpha carbon. They can vary in size from just a hydrogen atom in glycine through a methyl group in alanine to a large heterocyclic group in tryptophan.

Amino acids are critical to life, and have a variety of roles in metabolism. One particularly important function is as the building blocks of proteins, which are linear chains of amino acids. Amino acids are also important in many other biological molecules, such as forming parts of coenzymes, as in S-adenosylmethionine, or as precursors for the biosynthesis of molecules such as heme. Due to this central role in biochemistry, amino acids are very important in nutrition.

Amino acids are commonly used in food technology and industry. For example, monosodium glutamate is a common flavor enhancer that gives foods the taste called umami. Beyond the amino acids that are found in all forms of life, amino acids are also used in industry. Applications include the production of biodegradable plastics, drugs and chiral catalysts.

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