Amino acids are building blocks or monomeric units of proteins. The properties of proteins depend on the characteristic sequence of amino acids. Amino acids consist of a central carbon atom and its linked amino group, carboxyl group, hydrogen atom, and side chains. Of the approximately 500 amino acids found in nature, only 20 participate in translation. Aside from their role in composing proteins, amino acids have key roles as precursor compounds in many physiological processes including intermediary metabolism, signal transduction, and neurotransmission. For example, the amine 3-hydroxytyramine (dopamine) is a precursor for the synthesis of adrenaline from tyrosine and a key neurotransmitter.

Because of variations in their side chains, amino acids have remarkably different biochemical properties and functions. Except for glycine, all amino acids have an asymmetric carbon and exhibit optical activity. Except for glutamine and cysteine, amino acids are generally stable at physiological pH of 7.4, and most of them exist as dipole ions or zwitterions. Their overall ionization states vary with pH. Many amino acids are synthesized only through pathways present in certain plants and bacteria, so amino acids can be divided into two categories according to the way mammals obtain them, namely essential amino acids and non-essential amino acids. In addition, amino acids also can be classified according to the core structural functional groups' locations as alpha- (α-), beta- (β-), gamma- (γ-) or delta- (δ-) amino acids.

Amerigo Scientific offers a wide range of amino acids and derivatives in varying purities and grades for protein synthesis, enzyme inhibition, cell culture and analysis, and more.

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