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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Researchers uncover new target for cancer research

In a new paper released today in Nature, BioFrontiers Institute scientists at the University of Colorado Boulder, Tom Cech and Leslie Leinwand, detailed a new target for anti-cancer drug development that is sitting at the ...

Oct 24, 2012
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New study finds HIV Achilles Heel

(Medical Xpress) -- A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows how scientists have used a mathematical tool to possibly identify an Achilles heel in HIV which may le ...

Jun 21, 2011
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New understanding of how we see colors

(Medical Xpress)—Scientists have until now not fully understood how animals see in color, since visual pigments in eyes contain exactly the same chromophore (light absorbing segment of the molecule) and yet can absorb different ...

Dec 07, 2012
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'Moonlighting' enzyme unravels arginine paradox

(Medical Xpress) -- Nearly 20 years ago, the journal Science tagged nitric oxide as the "molecule of the year." Since that time, researchers have tried to study and target this simple molecule that is involved in virtually every ...

Nov 13, 2011
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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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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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