Pic: http://passel.unl.edu/Image/siteImages/AminoAcidLG.gif


Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, and they also serve as neurotransmitters. The amino acids that also serve as neurotransmitters include the following:

  • Glutamate
  • Aspartate
  • D-serine
  • y-aminobutyric acid (GABA)
  • Glycine.

Each amino acid has several key ingredients, as the picture demonstrates. The parts that make up an amino acid include the amino group (the NH3+), a hydrocarbon, a carboxyl group (COO-) and an R group (which is like a wildcard: anything can be attached to there.)

Pic: http://www.biologycorner.com/resources/mRNA-colored.gif

Each amino acid has a three letter code based on their RNA structure, and these come together to form a peptide structure. Each of the codes derive from their RNA, which as this picture shows, it is made up of four base pairs: A (adenine), C (cytosine), G (guanine) and U (uracil). This differs from DNA,  which has T (thymine) included as a base pair: simply substitute T for U when you are talking about single-stranded RNA as opposed to double-stranded DNA.






Pic: http://0.tqn.com/d/chemistry/1/0/H/V/1/gluamic_acid.png










Glutamate (GAA/GAG) 

Glutamate (or glutamic acid) plays an important role in memory and learning, and it also allows a long-term transmission of information via neurotransmitters.


Pic: http://0.tqn.com/d/chemistry/1/0/T/V/1/aspartic_acid.png










Aspartate (GAU/GAC)

Aspartate (or aspartic acid) is involved in the process of biosynthesis, which basically is the formation of a chemical compound by a living organism.






Pic: http://test.classconnection.s3.amazonaws.com/4/flashcards/195004/png/glycine.png



Glycine (GGU, GGC, GGA and GGG)

Glycine serves as both a precursor to proteins and a building block of many organic products. As a neurotransmitter, it acts as an inhibitor of the CNS, particularly within the retina, spinal cord and the brainstem.








Pic: http://0.tqn.com/d/chemistry/1/0/7/P/1/serine.jpg
Pic: http://0.tqn.com/d/chemistry/1/0/7/P/1/serine.jpg

Serine (UCU, UCC, UCA, UCG, AGU and AGC) 

Serine plays several key roles within the body, and they include:

  • Being an important part of metabolism, and is also the precursor to several other amino acids including glycine and cysteine and tryptophan. ,
  • Serine also plays a role as a catalyst for many enzymes.
  • It also creates purines and pyrimidines, which are part of the building blocks of DNA.






Pic: http://ic.pics.livejournal.com/malcubed/272194/96986/96986_original.png

GABA is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in the (adult) mammalian nervous system, and in humans, it plays a role in regulating our muscle tone. In children, GABA actually plays an excitatory role.