News tagged with amino acids

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

Researchers find new mechanism for neurodegeneration

A research team led by Jackson Laboratory Professor and Howard Hughes Investigator Susan Ackerman, Ph.D., have pinpointed a surprising mechanism behind neurodegeneration in mice, one that involves a defect in a key component ...

Jul 24, 2014
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Mysterious esophagus disease is autoimmune after all

(Medical Xpress)—Achalasia is a rare disease – it affects 1 in 100,000 people – characterized by a loss of nerve cells in the esophageal wall. While its cause remains unknown, a new study by a team of researchers at ...

Jul 22, 2014
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Improved imaging agent pinpoints hostile cancer

Positron emission tomography (PET) could prove to be a better imaging procedure than magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the detection of glioblastoma, the most aggressive type of primary brain tumour.

Jul 08, 2014
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Metabolic map of human body created

(Medical Xpress)—Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (WCMC-Q) scientists have drafted a metabolic map of the human body that shows how human metabolism works as a system, and how it can potentially be ...

Jun 17, 2014
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UNL team explores new approach to HIV vaccine

Using a genetically modified form of the HIV virus, a team of University of Nebraska-Lincoln scientists has developed a promising new approach that could someday lead to a more effective HIV vaccine.

May 29, 2014
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Researchers examine metabolism in defective cells

University of Alberta researchers are taking a closer look at how two metabolic pathways interact to increase the lifespan of cells with mitochondrial defects. Magnus Friis is the lead author of the study, which was published ...

Apr 11, 2014
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Switching brain cells with less light

Networked nerve cells are the control center of organisms. In a nematode, 300 nerve cells are sufficient to initiate complex behavior. To understand the properties of the networks, re-searchers switch cells ...

Apr 01, 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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