Writing With Amino Acids

Most of the letters in the alphabet have been used in the standard abbreviations for the 20 proteinogenic amino acids.  If you add in a few other amino acids and some uncertainties all of the letters are accounted for.  This means you can code words into peptides.  I'll show a few examples below:

 Each amino acid starts with the nitrogen so in this image you can see there are four amino acids (serine, threonine, alanine, and tyrosine) one for each letter in "Stay."

Notice the R in the diagram (just above the last NH) comes from "B" which indicates either asparagine or aspartic acid.  The R indicates where asparagine and aspartic acid are different.

Can you identify the already seen "Stay" portion?
So now you can pass notes during chemistry class.


tpmotd said...

That's really cool, Dave! So could these all conceivably be synthesized? Does any of them have a proper chemical name already?

David said...

Yes all of these could be synthesized. They all have proper chemical names that can be derived from the acids in the compound. Look at STAY again. Start with N-terminal amino acid (serine) remove the last "ine" and add "nyl." Repeat with all but the last amino acid (the C-terminus) which remains as it is.


Sometimes people put in hyphens to make it easier to see where each amino acid is:


Sam said...

That's awesome! Somebody should add "amino acid" as a possible language on Google Translate.

Reidwilson said...

Hi friends,

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. They band together in chains to form the stuff from which your life is born. A total of 20 different kinds of amino acids form proteins. The kinds of amino acids determine the shape of the proteins formed. Thanks for sharing it...

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