Amino acids are the basic components of proteins. Chemically, their basic structure consists or R-C-NH2COOH. NH2 is the amine group, from which the first part of the name derives, while COOH is the carboxylate group common to organic acids.
Amino-acid synthesis is complex (see this clickable chart) and as humans lack some enzyme systems some amino acids are essential and have to be obtained from the diet. The remaining amino acids can often be produced from modifications of the pool of essential amino acids.
Essential amino acids
- Arginine - considered essential in children and in conditions of stress that increase protein catabolism. In these situations, the body cannot synthesise sufficient and is dependent on arginine from the diet.
|Name||Abbrev (classic)||Abbrev (FASTER)||Notes||DNA Codons||Structure|
|Alanine||ala||A||Aliphatic||GCT, GCC, GCA, GCG|
|Arginine||arg||R||Basic, Essential in children||CGT, CGC, CGA, CGG, AGA, AGG|
|Asparagine||asn||N||Amidic (containing amide group), asparagine/aspartic acid may have to be abbreviated asx - B||AAT, AAC|
|Aspartic acid||asp||D||Acidic, asparagine/aspartic acid may have to be abbreviated asx - B||GAT, GAC|
|Glutamine||gln||Q (Z)||Amidic (containing amide group), glutamine/glutamic acid may have to be abbreviated glx - Z||CAA, CAG|
|Glutamic acid||glu||E(Z)||Acidic, glutamine/glutamic acid may have to be abbreviated glx - Z||GAA, GAG|
|Glycine||gly||G||Aliphatic||GGT, GGC, GGA, GGG|
|Isoleucine||ile||I||Aliphatic, Essential||ATT, ATC, ATA|
|Leucine||leu||L||Aliphatic, Essential||CTT, CTC, CTA, CTG, TTA, TTG|
|Lysine||lys||K||Basic, Essential||AAA, AAG|
|Phenylalanine||phe||F||Aromatic, Essential||TTT, TTC|
|Proline||pro||P||Aliphatic||CCT, CCC, CCA, CCG|
|Serine||ser||S||Hydroxylic||TCT, TCC, TCA, TCG, AGT, AGC|
|Threonine||thr||T||Hydroxylic, Essential||ACT, ACC, ACA, ACG|
|Valine||val||V||Aliphatic, Essential||GTT, GTC, GTA, GTG|
|Stop||*||Instruction code||TAA, TAG, TGA|
All 64 possible 3 letter codons are used.
Note: The FASTA format AA code also uses X for any AA, Z for either glutamine/glutamic acid and - for a gap.