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Amino acids

Amino acids
Amino acids are the basic structural building
units of proteins.
They form short polymer chains called peptides
or longer chains called either polypeptides or
The process of such formation from an mRNA
template is known as translation which is part of
protein biosynthesis.
Twenty amino acids are encoded by the
standard genetic code and are called
proteinogenic or standard amino acids.
Other amino acids contained in proteins are
usually formed by post-translational modification,
which is modification after translation in protein
These modifications are often essential for the
function or regulation of a protein; for example,
the carboxylation of glutamate allows for better
binding of calcium cations, and the hydroxylation
of proline is critical for maintaining connective
tissues and responding to oxygen starvation.
Such modifications can also determine the
localization of the protein, e.g., the addition of
Peptide bond formation
Classification of amino
Amino acids have been classified in various
(1)Non-polar aliphatic R-groups
(2)Polar uncharged R-groups
(3)Positively charged (basic) R-
(4)Negatively charged (acidic)
R groups
The word protein is derived from Greek word,
proteios which means primary.
As the name shows, the proteins are of
paramount importance for biological systems.
Out of the total dry body weight, 3/4ths are
made up of proteins.
Proteins are used for body building; all the
major structural
and functional aspects of the body are carried out
by protein molecules.
Abnormality in protein structure will lead to
molecular diseases with profound alterations in
Proteins contain Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen and
Nitrogen as the major components while Sulphur
and Phosphorus are minor constituents.
Nitrogen is characteristic of proteins.
On an average, the nitrogen content of ordinary
proteins is 16% by weight.
All proteins are polymers of amino acids.
Properties of proteins

(1)Proteins have high molecular weight.

(2)Proteins are colloidal in nature.
(3)Proteins have large particle size.
(4)Different kinds of proteins are soluble in
different solvents.
(5)Proteins differ in their shape.
(6)Some proteins yield amino acids only on
hydrolysis where as others produce amino acids
plus other types of molecules.
(7)Charge properties.
(8)Proteins act as buffers.
Classification of
There is no single universally satisfactory
system of protein classification so far:-
(1)One system classifies proteins according to
their composition or structure.
(2)One system classifies them according to
(3)One system classifies them according to their
(4)Classification of proteins based on their
function also found in literature.
Protein structure
(Organisation of
Proteins have different levels of structural
organisation; primary, secondary, tertiary and