Computer Sciences

Identifying individual proteins using nanopores and supercomputers

The amount and types of proteins our cells produce tell us important details about our health and how our bodies work. But the methods we have of identifying and quantifying individual proteins are inadequate to the task. ...


Eco-friendly device detects real-time pipe damage

A researcher at University of Limerick has developed a low-cost, environmentally friendly sensor that can detect damage in pipelines and could save water as a result.

Machine learning & AI

Artificial intelligence to predict protein structure

Proteins are biological high-performance machines. They can be found in every cell and play an important role in human blood coagulation or as main constituents of hairs or muscles. The function of these molecular tools is ...

Machine learning & AI

Machine learning for damaging mutations prediction

Next-generation sequencing technology has ushered in a new era in medicine, making it easier to identify a sequence of nucleotides in DNA or a sequence of amino acids in the proteins of a specific individual and use this ...


Play video games, advance science

Computer gaming is now a regular part of life for many people. Beyond just being entertaining, though, it can be a very useful tool in education and in science.

Amino acid

In chemistry, an amino acid is a molecule containing both amine and carboxyl functional groups. These molecules are particularly important in biochemistry, where this term refers to alpha-amino acids with the general formula H2NCHRCOOH, where R is an organic substituent. In the alpha amino acids, the amino and carboxylate groups are attached to the same carbon atom, which is called the α–carbon. The various alpha amino acids differ in which side chain (R group) is attached to their alpha carbon. They can vary in size from just a hydrogen atom in glycine through a methyl group in alanine to a large heterocyclic group in tryptophan.

Amino acids are critical to life, and have a variety of roles in metabolism. One particularly important function is as the building blocks of proteins, which are linear chains of amino acids. Amino acids are also important in many other biological molecules, such as forming parts of coenzymes, as in S-adenosylmethionine, or as precursors for the biosynthesis of molecules such as heme. Due to this central role in biochemistry, amino acids are very important in nutrition.

Amino acids are commonly used in food technology and industry. For example, monosodium glutamate is a common flavor enhancer that gives foods the taste called umami. Beyond the amino acids that are found in all forms of life, amino acids are also used in industry. Applications include the production of biodegradable plastics, drugs and chiral catalysts.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA