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Amino acids: Memorizing names and classifying made easy

Amino acids are molecules containing an amine group, a carboxylic acid group and a side chain that varies between different amino acids. These molecules contain the key elements of Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, and Nitrogen.

Assign the names of these amino acids to 20 different alphabets.

20 amino acids and their structures. Click to enlarge.

A : Alanine

C: Cysteine
D: Aspartate
E: Glutamate
F: Phenylalanine
G: Glycine
H: Histidine
I: Isoleucine
K: Lysine
L: Leucine
M: Methionine
N: Aspargine
P: Proline
Q: Glutamine
R: Arginine
S: Serine
T: Threonine
V: Valine
W: Tryptophan
Y: Tyrosine

How to remember:

1. Unique 1st letter:
a. Cysteine
b. Histidine
c. Isoleucine
d. Methionine
e. Valine
f: Serine

2. More than 1 leter but still 1st letter:
a. Alanine
b. Glycine
c. Leucine
d. Proline
e. Threonine

3. Phonetically suggestive:
a. Arginine (R-ginine)
b. Phenylalanine (F-enylalanine)
c. Tyrosine (tYrosine)
d. Tryptophan (W-structure of tryptophan)

4. Others:
a. Aspartate or Aspartic acid (asparDic)
b. Asparagine (aspargiN)
c. Glutamate or Glutamic acid (gluE-tamate)
d. Glutamine (Q-tamine)
e. Lysine (K is near L)

On the basis of:

A. Structure:
1. Aliphatic side chains: GAVLI
Glycine, Alanine, Valine, Leucine, Isoleucine
2. With OH group: STY
Serine, Threonine, Tyrosine
3. Acidic: AAGG
Aspartate, Aspargine, Glutamate, Glutamine
4. Sulphur containing: CM
Cysteine, Methionine
5. Basic: HIstory of ARGentina was Lie
Histidine, Arginine, Lysine
6. Aromatic: HTTP
Histidine, Tryptophan, Tyrosine, Phenylalanine
7. Imide:

B. Essential and Non-essential:
1. Essential: PVT TIM HALL
Phenylalanine, Valine, Threonine, Tryptophan, Isoleucine, Methionine, Histidine, Arginine, Lysine, Leucine
Semi-essential are Histidine and Arginine

2. Non-essential: Rest of the 10 amino acids

C. Metabolic Fate:
1. Ketogenic: Lysine, Leucine
2. Partially Ketogenic/Glucogenic: Isoleucine and other 3 aromatic amino acids (Tyrosine, Tryptophan, Phenylalanine)
3. Glucogenic: Rest

D. Polarity:
1. Polar with no charge on R: STY: glutamine, aspargine, cysteine, glycine
2. Polar with +ve R: Arginine, Histidine, Lysine (Basic)
3. Polar with -ve R: Aspartate, Glutamate (Acidic)
4. Non-polar: Rest

Tags: amino acids, Mnemonics

Last updated: May 23, 2010

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This entry was posted by on May 21, 2010 at 8:01 pm and filed under Biochemistry, Mnemonics, Student Life category.

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