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DNA and Amino Acids

Amino Acids

These 20 amino acids provide the fundamental building blocks from which all human life is constructed. The entire DNA is written using a code of only 4 letters, namely T-Thymine, A-Adenine, C-Cytosine and G-Guanine. First, DNA is transcribed into long strands of Messenger RNA by using the above four letters in groups of three, and these "Triplet Codons"contain the copied code. The sequence of these triplet groups represent chain specific amino acids found in various enzymes and proteins.

alanineALA - Alanine: An aliphatic molecule, made from a short linear chain of carbon atoms. Although Non Polar, meaning not water soluble and essentially hydrophobic (water fearing), it is less strictly segregated from water due to it's smaller size. Used in maintaining blood glucose levels by converting carbohydrates stored in liver and muscle tissue into glucose needed by the body to satisfy its energy needs. Also used as a food seasoning.arginineARG - Arginine: An aliphatic molecule, made up of a long linear chain of atoms that are mostly carbon. Polar, water soluble molecule with a hydrophilic (water loving) side chain, it also carries a positive electrical charge. Being strongly hydrophilic, it is confined only to hydrated areas. Stimulates the immune system, promotes wound healing, and blocks formation of tumors. In the Anterior Pituitary gland, causes release of growth hormones. Increases spermatogenesis in sex glands. Also promotes detoxification of ammonia, and is involved in liver regeneration.
asparagineASN - Asparagine: Polar, meaning water soluble, molecule with a hydrophilic side chain, but here is not carrying an electrical charge. An aliphatic molecule, made from a linear chain of carbon atoms. While possessing a hydrophilic character, being electrically neutral it can also be accommodated in hydrophobic regions. Participates in the metabolic control of cells functions in the brain and nervous system, thus used in treatment of brain and nervous system disorders.aspartic acidASP - Aspartic Acid: This Polar, meaning water soluble, molecule with a hydrophilic side chain, and in this instance is negatively charged. Being an aliphatic molecule, it is made up from a linear chain of carbon atoms. Nitrogen derived from Aspartic Acid is used to form ribonucleotides, precursors to RNA and DNA. Aids in the disposal and detoxification of ammonia in the body. Also increases overall resistance to fatigue.
cysteineCYS - Cysteine: This uncharged, Polar molecule, has a water soluble has a hydrophilic side chain. An aliphatic molecule, being made up of a linear chain of atoms. Cysteine is joined to other Cysteine molecules through an inherently nonpolar (not water soluble) disulfide bridge, as shown in this example. While having a hydrophilic character, being electrically neutral allows it to also be accommodated in hydrophobic regions. Used to stimulate white blood cell activity in the immune system. Essential for the formation of skin, and promotes healing from cuts and burns. Effective antioxidant and scavenger of free radicals.glutamic acidGLU - Glutamic Acid: Also known as glutamate, this Polar molecule has a water soluble, hydrophilic side chain, which carries a negative charge. This aliphatic molecule is made from a linear chain of carbon atoms. Being strongly hydrophilic, is thus confined to only hydrated areas. Approximately 50% of the amino acid composition in the brain is represented by GLU and it's derivatives. Used to transport potassium across the blood brain barrier. This amino acid acts as an excitatory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system, so is essentially fuel for the brain. Also found in stomach.
glutamineGLN - Glutamine: Polar molecule with a water soluble, hydrophilic side chain. This uncharged, aliphatic molecule is made up of carbon atoms forming a linear chain. While having a clearly hydrophilic character, being electrically neutral allows it to be accommodated in hydrophobic regions as well. Readily passing through the blood brain barrier, it picks up ammonia in the central nervous system and delivers it to kidneys for deanimation. Used to protect against the poisonous effects of alcohol, and in the treatment of schizophrenia and senility. Also found in the intestinal tract.glycineGLY - Glycine: This simplest of all the amino acids is a Non-Polar molecule and is thus not water soluble. While essentially hydrophobic, is found to be less strictly segregated from water due to it's small size. Helps in the formation of the purine skeleton utilized in constructing RNA and DNA strands. Inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. Stimulates the release of growth hormone, and aids in synthesis of hemoglobin. Used as food additive for a sweeter taste, is also effective for hyperacidity in the stomach (used in antacids).
histidineHIS - Histidine: A Polar molecule with a water soluble, hydrophilic side chain. Although normally holding a Positive charge, only about half are actually charged at any given moment. While an organic compound, this Heterocyclic molecule has elements in it's ring other than carbon. Strongly hydrophilic and confined to only hydrated areas. Important in production of red and white blood cells, is abundant in hemoglobin, also the oxygen carrying pigment of red blood cells. Effective in treating allergic diseases. Helps remove heavy metals from tissues by chelation to trace minerals.IsoleucineILE - Isoleucine: This is an Aliphatic molecule, made up of a long linear chain of carbon atoms. It is Non Polar, and thus not water soluble. A very hydrophobic amino acid, tends to be buried in regions from which water is excluded. It is found in high concentrations in muscle tissue. Since the only source is through dietary intake, it must be kept in balance proportion with other amino acids, or nutritional conflicts may occur.
LeucineLEU - Leucine: Being a Non-Polar amino acid, this molecule is not water soluble. It is an aliphatic molecule made up from a linear chain of carbon atoms. Tends to be found buried in regions from which water is excluded due to being very hydrophobic. Must be kept in balance with other amino acids through dietary intake, or nutritional conflicts may occur. Useful in lowering blood sugar levels. It is found in high concentrations in muscle tissue, and promotes wound healing of skin and bone.LysineLYS - Lysine: This Polar, water soluble molecule with a hydrophilic side chain, also carrying a positive electrical charge. An aliphatic molecule, it is made from a long linear chain of carbon atoms. Since being strongly hydrophilic, it is confined to only hydrated areas. Assures adequate absorption of the mineral calcium, and assists in promoting bone growth. Must be kept in balance with other amino acids through dietary intake, or nutritional conflicts may occur. Helps to form collagen, the fibrous protein constituent of bones, cartilage, tendons, and other connective tissues. Also used in treatment of Herpes Simplex.
methionineMET - Methionine: A Non Polar molecule, meaning not water soluble and essentially hydrophobic. This aliphatic linear chain is made up of mostly carbon, while also containing a single Sulfur atom. A principle source of sulfur which the body needs to replenish daily, it must be kept in balance with other amino acids, or nutritional imbalances could occur. A hydrophobic amino acid, tends to be found buried only in regions from which water is excluded. Functions as a antioxidant (free radical deactivator) and neutralizes toxins. Helps guard against disorders of the skin and nails, prevents hair loss, and curbs accumulations of fat in the liver.phenylalaninePHE - Phenylalanine: Related to other organic groups containing rings of carbon atoms, this Aromatic amino acid has a side chain derived from benzene by removal of one hydrogen atom. Tending to be buried in regions where water is excluded, this Non Polar amino acid is not water soluble, and is a very hydrophobic. Used by the brain as a natural precursor to the manufacture of norepinephrine and other neurotransmitters, it enhances learning, alertness and memory. Also used in the treatment of depression, and the "D" form Phenylalanine acts as a pain killer. Nutritional conflicts may occur unless kept in balance with other amino acids through dietary intake.
prolinePRO - Proline: Similar to other organic compounds forming rings of carbon atoms, this Heterocyclic amino acid contains a single atom of nitrogen within that ring. A Non Polar, non water soluble and essentially hydrophobic molecule, yet less strictly segregated from water due to the rigidity imposed by the cyclization of the R group with the primary amino group. Major constituent of collagen, the main fibrous protein found in bone, cartilage and other connective tissue. Used in the maintenance and repair of joints and tendons.serineSER - Serine: This Hydroxyl containing, water soluble Polar amino acid has a hydrophilic side chain, while carrying no electrical charge. An aliphatic molecule, it's made from a short chain of carbon atoms. Although having a hydrophilic character, being electrically neutral also allows it to be accommodated in hydrophobic regions. Assist in the manufacture of the organic acid Creatine, found in blood, while also present within muscle and brain tissue as an energy source for muscle contraction. Participant in purine, pyrimidine and porphyrin biosynthesis. Also a natural moisturizing agent used in cosmetics.
threonineTHR - Threonine: This Hydroxyl containing molecule carries no electrical charge, and with a hydrophilic side chain, is water soluble Polar amino acid. It is also an aliphatic molecule made up of a linear chain of carbon atoms. Since being electrically neutral, it is accommodated in hydrophobic regions while clearly having a hydrophilic character. Must be kept in balance with other amino acids through dietary intake, or nutritional conflicts may occur. In the liver, it acts as a lipotropic agent to help prevent fatty build ups. An important constituent of collagen, elastin and enamel proteins.tryptophanTRP - Tryptophan: An uncharged, Polar molecule, with a water soluble hydrophilic side chain. A Heterocyclic molecule similar to other organic carbon compounds, in this case having a nitrogen atom in it's rings. Essentially hydrophobic, but less strictly segregated from water owing to the possession of a polar (NH) group, and can participate in hydrogen bonding. Found in blood serum, gastric mucous membranes and especially in brain tissue, a precursor to Serotonin and used as an inhibitory neurotransmitter. Stimulates the smooth muscles, transmission of impulses between nerve cells, and in the regulation of cyclic body processes. Used in treatment of migraine headaches, insomnia and some types of depression. A balance must be maintained with other amino acids through dietary intake, or nutritional conflicts can occur.
tyrosineTYR - Tyrosine: This water soluble Polar molecule with a hydrophilic side chain has no electrical charge. A Heterocyclic and Aromatic amino acid, similar to other organic compounds, which combine other elements into the carbon ring. Essentially hydrophobic, but due to the possession of a polar (OH) group, is less strictly segregated from water, and can participate in hydrogen bonding. Direct precursor of adrenaline and thyroid hormones, it helps control depressions and anxiety, and acts as a growth hormone stimulant. Plays an intermediary role in the synthesis of the neurotransmitter Norepinephrine from Phenylalanine. Considered an antioxidant and appetite suppressant.valineVAL Valine: This molecule is a Non-Polar amino acid, and thus is not water soluble. It is an aliphatic molecule made up from a short linear chain of carbon atoms. A Very hydrophobic amino acid, tending to be buried in regions from which water is excluded. Nutritional conflicts may occur unless kept in balance with other amino acids through dietary intake. Used to treat severe amino acid deficiencies caused by addictions. One of the branched chain amino acids found in high concentration in muscle tissue.

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