Amino Acids

Amino acids are vital in human chemistry. What are these protein subunits?

There are twenty different amino acids in proteins. There are four different classes of amino acids, which are classified based on their side chains: negative polar, positive polar, uncharged polar, and nonpolar. There are two types of abbreviations for each amino acid, the one letter abbreviation and the three letter abbreviation. Proteins are composed of amino acids. The exact location of each amino acid in the protein, determines the protein's conformation (structure).

Aspartic acid, which is a negative polar amino acid, has the abbreviation of Asp and D. Glutamic acid, which is negative polar, has the abbreviation of Glu and E. Arginine which is positive polar, has the abbreviation of Arg and R. Lysine which is positive polar, has the abbreviation of Lys and K. Histidine, which is positive polar, has the abbreviation of His and H.

Asparagine, which is uncharged polar has the abbreviation of Asn and N. Glutamine, which is uncharged polar, has the abbreviation of Gln and Q. Serine, which is uncharged polar, has the abbreviation of Ser and S. Threonine, which is uncharged polar, has the abbreviation of Thr and T. Tyrosine, which is uncharged polar, has the abbreviation of Tyr and Y.



Alanine, which is nonpolar has the abbreviation of Ala and A. Glycine, which is nonpolar has the abbreviation of Gly and G. Valine, which is nonpolar has the abbreviation of Val and V. Leucine, which is nonpolar has the abbreviation of Leu and L. Isoleucine, which is nonpolar has the abbreviation of Ile and I. Proline, which is nonpolar has the abbreviation of Pro and P. Phenylalanine, which is nonpolar has the abbreviation of Phe and F. Methionine, which is nonpolar has the abbreviation of Met and M. Tryptophan, which is nonpolar has the abbreviation of Trp and W. Cysteine, which is nonpolar has the abbreviation of Cys and C.

The polar amino acids place themselves on the outside of the protein, while the nonpolar ones stay on the inside of the conformation. This is related to hydrophobic versus hydrophilic. The polar proteins are hydrophilic, which means they interact favorably with water. However, the nonpolar proteins are hydrophobic, which means they interact unfavorably with water.

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