Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Drop some Acid

Our four "Super Heroes": The Strong Man Carbon (C), The Extrovert Oxygen (O), The Introvert Nitrogen (N), and the flighty Hydrogen (H), with their two side kicks Phosphorus (P) and Sulfur (S) come together to fight for Truth, Justice, and the Survival of the Human Race! They do this first by making "Proteins". The way the individual atoms; carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, and sometimes sulfur come together will form molecules called "amino acids". The different combinations, the numbers of each atom, and the position of these atoms form 20 different kinds of amino acids. Each of these amino acids are given a name based upon the number of our introvert Nitrogen (N) and the number of our strongman Carbon (C) holding two extroverted Oxygen (O) atoms. Just think of the strength it would take for one Carbon (C) atom to hold together two Oxygen (O) atoms who would rather be any place else. The simplest amino acid is called a mono (one) amio (nitrogen with three Hydrogen (H) surround it, mono (one) carboxyclic acid. [a Carbon (C) atom with two Oxygen (O) atoms attached.] Thank goodness it is also called "glycine". Just to give you a mental picture of how this amino acid is drawn:

COO- single carboxyl
H(3)-N+ -C- H
single amino

The plus (+) and minus (-) signs are to show that the amion acid carries charges. This is much like a battery, with a "positive end" and a "negative end". These charges become important. Just like you have to put a battery the correct way (positive pole and negative pole)in a camera before it will operate, the cell must put together the amion acids in the correct way. These "charged" ends of the amino acids help the cell to accomplish this. Wow, enough for today. Just recognize that the these amino acids are the building blocks of proteins.

[Note: I am unable to line up the molecule the way it should be when I push "publish post". The carbon atom should have the four bonds around it, shown as (| and - ) not at the edge of the nirtogen atom as the blog shows. Sorry, the blog changes it no matter what I have tried.]

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