Amino Acid One-Letter Codes

Proteins structures are complicated (really complicated), and the code we use to describe their sequences needs to reflect this by being concise and easy to understand. As scientists became able to identify and synthesise longer and longer sequences of amino acids, the notation they used to characterise them had to adapt, evolve, and (crucially) condense.… Continue reading Amino Acid One-Letter Codes

Acetylene (and Hydrocarbon Suffixes)

In a previous post on this blog, I discussed the possibility for confusion among modern students of chemistry due to older, generic names of organic molecules being incongruous with the systematic naming conventions we use today. The example I used to make this point was acetone, which unlike acetic acid, acetylene, and acetaldehyde, contains three carbons… Continue reading Acetylene (and Hydrocarbon Suffixes)

Asparagine, Aspartate, Glutamine and Glutamate

There are four amino acids that are intrinsically linked by the similarity in their structures, and unsurprisingly, the stories behind their names are just as intertwined. I am of course referring to the compounds with the carboxylic acid and primary amide side chains: asparagine, aspartic acid, glutamine and glutamic acid. Asparagine Asparagine was the first… Continue reading Asparagine, Aspartate, Glutamine and Glutamate