Hey guys 🙂
I know its been a while since I’ve posted anything ( a week to be exact ) but ive been quite the busy bee! So that being said I decided to give a major post on the basics for amino acids 🙂
So let’s start off with the basic stuff.
and Last but NOT least:
What are amino acids?
Let’s start with a basic structure :
So there we have it folks! the basic structure of an amino acid, containing an amino group, a carboxyl group, and a variable R group also known as the “side chain.” Later on we will see that the interactions between the varying side chains, as well as the amino group play an important role in forming different types of bonds for various structures.
Two amino acids, come together, through condensation, to form a peptide bond.
Later on in this blog, we will refer back to peptide linkages, and polypeptide chains, so make sure you understand the basics!!
Moving on we ask;What are amino acids used for?
Well to begin with, there are two different types of amino acids, Essential, and non essential amino acids. Naturally I am sure you will be able to guess the difference between two.
Essential amino acids :
These amino acids ust be obtained from the diet, since they cannot be synthesised on their own. There are roughly ten essential amino acids.
Non-Essential amino acids:
The body is able to synthesize these amino acids. Usually the body uses already exsisting carbon skeletons, and convert them to the respective amino acids. One example of this is the conversion of alanine to pyruvic acid.
Here’s a general picture of whats happening for the curious ones:
Finally we move on to some chemical reactions involved with amino acids! 😀
Here’s a look at general peptide chain:
From these peptide bonds, polypeptide chains can be formed,which can cause further structures to be created, as the polypeptide chain begins to fold. The polypeptide chain folds as a result of different interactions between the different amino acids and the formation of hydrogen bonds, sometimes various sulphide bonds The different degrees of folding in the structure, classifies it as either primary,secondary or tertiary.
Let’s Pause for a cause here and get some definitions under our belt.
Here’s a useful website I found describing everything in a pretty concise understandable manner.
They give a concise definition of amino acids stating that they are a “Class of organic acids that comprise the building blocks for proteins.”
They also explain hydrogen bonding in an easy, understandable way stating that hydrogen bonds are, ” A weak attraction between a slightly positive hydrogen atom on one molecule and a slightly negative oxygen or nitrogen atom on another molecule, or between such atoms on different parts of the same molecule; responsible for the cohesion of water and the coiling of protein and DNA molecules, for example.”
Understanding hydrogen bonds is important seeing as they form the basis for primary, and therefore secondary and tertiary structures.
So now that we’ve taken a moment to understand, let’s dive straight into these amazing structures 😀
- These are a linear sequence of amino acids joined by peptide bonds
- The nucleotide bases in the gene encoding the protein determines this sequence.
- Regular folding of regions in polypeptide chains are observed.
- Two examples of secondary protein structures can be seen in the alpha helix and beta pleated sheet.
- These are usually globular
- For soluble globular proteins, they are usually folded in away that the hydrophobic links are buried within the structure, while the hydrophilic chains are on the outside.
Reference : http://www.umass.edu/molvis/workshop/prot1234.htm
So there you have it folks! 🙂 the basics of amino acids.
Hope you had a fun time learning 😀
Next time we’ll go into detail about the secondary structures of proteins, that is, alpha helices and beta pleated sheets.
Until next time