Health

Quorn protein builds muscle better than milk protein

A study from the University of Exeter has found that mycoprotein, the protein-rich food source that is unique to Quorn products, stimulates post-exercise muscle building to a greater extent than milk protein.

Health

How common gut bacteria trigger a lethal autoimmune disease

What causes the immune system, designed to protect us, to turn on the body and attack healthy cells? Common bacteria that reside in the human gut may be partly to blame, say Yale researchers, who studied the origins of a ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Diabetes drug alleviates anxiety in mice

The antidiabetic medication metformin reduces anxiety-like behaviors in male mice by increasing serotonin availability in the brain, according to a study published in JNeurosci. These findings could have implications for ...

Immunology

Study identifies viral peptides critical to natural HIV control

Investigators at the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard have used a novel approach to identify specific amino acids in the protein structure of HIV that appear critical to the ability of the virus to function and replicate. ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Seeking better detection for chronic malaria

In people with chronic malaria, certain metabolic systems in the blood change to support a long-term host-parasite relationship, a finding that is key to eventually developing better detection, treatment and eradication of ...

Neuroscience

Brain signaling proteins hit the road running

Surprisingly complex movements in an important neurotransmitter receptor may help explain the brain's unpredictable response to drugs, according to a new study. New research from an international team, published this week ...

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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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