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Question Video: Recalling the Structure of an Amino Acid Biology

Part of a basic outline of an amino acid is provided. What functional group is missing?


Video Transcript

Part of a basic outline of an amino acid is provided. What functional group is missing?

This question is asking us about amino acids, so let’s discuss the basic structure and function of amino acids.

There are 20 different amino acids that are the building blocks of all the proteins in the body. Each of these amino acids have the same basic structure. So let’s look at the individual components. In the center is the central carbon, which binds to four different chemical structures. The first is a hydrogen. Then, there is a carboxyl group, followed by an R group, sometimes called the side chain.

The R group is the component of the amino acid that varies. This means that each amino acid will have a different R group. Some R groups are relatively simple like glycine, which contains a hydrogen for its R group, while others are more complex, like lysine, which has a hydrocarbon chain that terminates with a charged amino group.

The R group determines the individual characteristics of each amino acid. This influences the complex interactions among amino acids, which causes the specific folding of a polypeptide chain. The final component of an amino acids basic structure is an amino group. This is one of the reasons that nitrogen is an essential element for all forms of life.

Now that we’ve reviewed the structure and function of amino acids, we are able to answer our question correctly. The functional group that is missing is H2N.

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