ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Proteins and Amino Acids - The Basics

Updated on February 2, 2013

What Are Amino Acids?

  • Amino acids are simple organic compounds and are the monomers of all proteins.
  • They all have the same basic structure.
  • The 20 different naturally occurring amino acids that are involved in protein synthesis only differ because of the R-Group that is bonded to the central carbon.
  • The R-group in different amino acid molecules differ in charge (positive or negative), size (some are larger than others) and polarity.
  • All amino acids have an amino group at one end of the molecule, an carboxyl group at the other end and a carbon in between.
  • Amino acids join end-to-end to create a 'repeating backbone'.

What Are Proteins?

  • Proteins make up about 50% of the organic matter of a cell.
  • Proteins are large molecules that are made out of carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen and oxygen.
  • Their functions include:
  • They provide structure - for muscles and bone.
  • They can be protein carriers and channels in cell membranes.
  • Many hormones are proteins.
  • All enzymes are proteins.
  • Antibodies are proteins.

8-10 of the essential amino acids that we need are found in meat.
8-10 of the essential amino acids that we need are found in meat.

Amino Acids - Animals vs Plants

  • Plants are able to make their own amino acids that they need to live - providing they can obtain a sufficient amount of nitrate from the soil.
  • They convert the nitrate into amino groups which then bond to organic groups which are the product of photosynthesis.
  • Animals however cannot manufacture 8-10 of the amino acids that they need (essential amino acids) and therefore must eat protein (in the form of meat) which is then digested into amino acids.
  • Animals cannot store excess amino acids, the amino group makes them toxic if too much is present.
  • The amino group is removed in a process called deamination - this takes place in the liver in animals.
  • The removed amino groups form urea and is removed in the urine.

Joining Amino Acids

  • All amino acids join together in the same way no matter what kind of R-Group they may contain!
  • A condensation reaction (where a water molecule is removed) between the acid group of one amino acid and the carboxyl group of the other forms a covalent bond between the two amino acids.
  • The bond formed is called a peptide bond and the molecule produced is called a dipeptide.
  • The peptide bond can be broken by adding water, this is called a hydrolysis reaction and is basically the opposite of a condensation reaction.
  • Making and breaking peptide bonds is essential for building proteins in organisms, for example the breaking down of proteins into amino acids during digestion.
  • Lots of dipeptide molecules can join (in a hydrolysis reaction) to form polypeptide molecules.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      biochemi 

      5 years ago

      Amino acids are of two types based on the optical isomerism except for glycine. These isomers are called as L-amino acids and the next one is D-amino acids. In animals and plants only L-amino acids are used in the formation of proteins while D-amino acids are used to form cell wall of some bacteria, and therefore D-amino acids are not used in animals or plants.

    • profile image

      morgan 

      5 years ago

      for all your protein and amino acid needs with a great range of selection from all the top retailers with all the top brands visit mymusclesupplements.com

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)