What is an amino acid and how do they make up proteins?

1 Answer
Aug 19, 2016

Amino acids are molecules that are the building blocks of proteins.


An amino acid is a molecule (compound) that has a backbone with an amino-end #NH_2# and an acid-end #COOH# (carboxyl). There are 20 amino acids that form all the proteins in the body, they differ in their side chain R (see image)

https://opencurriculum.org/5354/organic-compounds/ adapted

To form a peptide a few amino acids are coupled together. To form a protein a whole string of amino acids is formed and later folded.

The coupling of amino acids is a condensation reaction i.e. water is released. The image below shows this reaction. The bond between two amino acids is called a peptide bond .