- any of a class of organic compounds that contains at least one amino group, –NH2, and one carboxyl group, –COOH: the alpha-amino acids, RCH(NH2)COOH, are the building blocks from which proteins are constructed.
Compare essential amino acid.
Origin of amino acid
First recorded in 1895–1900
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- any of a group of organic compounds containing one or more amino groups, -NH 2, and one or more carboxyl groups, -COOH. The alpha-amino acids RCH(NH 2)COOH (where R is either hydrogen or an organic group) are the component molecules of proteins; some can be synthesized in the body (nonessential amino acids) and others cannot and are thus essential components of the diet (essential amino acids)
- Any of various organic acids containing both an amino group and a carboxyl group, especially any of the 20 or more compounds that link together to form proteins.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
- Any of a large number of compounds found in living cells that contain carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, and nitrogen, and join together to form proteins. Amino acids contain a basic amino group (NH2) and an acidic carboxyl group (COOH), both attached to the same carbon atom. Since the carboxyl group has a proton available for binding with the electrons of another atom, and the amino group has electrons available for binding with a proton from another atom, the amino acid behaves as an acid and a base simultaneously. Twenty of the naturally occurring amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, which they form by being connected to each other in chains. Eight of those twenty, called essential amino acids, cannot be synthesized in the cells of humans and must be consumed as part of the diet. The remaining twelve are nonessential amino acids.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Amino acids are the basic molecular building blocks of proteins.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.