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Aromatic amino acids (AAA)[1] are amino acids that include an aromatic ring.

Examples include:

PhenylalaninetyrosineL-DOPA → (dopamine) → (epinephrine) → (norepinephrine)

Tryptophan5-hydroxytryptophan → (serotonin)

Histidine → (histamine)


Phenylalanine, histidine, and tryptophan are essential amino acids for animals. Since they are not synthesized in the human body, they must be derived from the diet. Tyrosine is semi-essential; it can be synthesized, but only from phenylalanine. A lack of the enzyme phenylalanine hydroxylase, used in tyrosine synthesis, causes phenylketonuria, and concurrently renders tyrosine an essential amino acid.

All plants and micro-organisms must synthesize their aromatic amino acids through the shikimate pathway in order to make proteins, unlike animals, which obtain them through their diet. Because of the energy intensive nature of amino acid biosynthesis, animals have lost these costly metabolic pathways, since they can obtain aromatic amino acids by ingesting other organisms. Herbicides and antibiotics take advantage of this by inhibiting enzymes involved in aromatic acid synthesis, thereby rendering them toxic to plants and micro-organisms but not animals.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Logan, Carolynn M.; Rice, M. Katherine (1987). Logan's Medical and Scientific Abbreviations. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company. p. 3. ISBN 0-397-54589-4. 

Further reading[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aromatic_amino_acids — Please support Wikipedia.
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89 news items

Endocrinology Advisor

Endocrinology Advisor
Fri, 13 Feb 2015 07:08:41 -0800

The researchers reported that diabetes developed in 227 South Asian men (35%) and 113 European men (14%), with data indicating stronger adverse associations between branched chain and aromatic amino acids and diabetes in South Asian men.

The Ecologist

The Ecologist
Thu, 26 Feb 2015 03:12:13 -0800

It was later patented by Monsanto as an herbicidal agent in 1974 (US3799758 A) based on its ability to block the shikimate pathway involved in the production of aromatic amino acids in both plants and bacteria. It has become the most popular herbicide ...
Seeking Alpha (registration)
Mon, 23 Feb 2015 06:03:45 -0800

Here, we show how interference with CYP enzymes acts synergistically with disruption of the biosynthesis of aromatic amino acids by gut bacteria, as well as impairment in serum sulfate transport. Consequences are most of the diseases and conditions ...
EurekAlert (press release)
Thu, 19 Feb 2015 05:41:15 -0800

Glyphosate works by stopping an enzyme called EPSPS that is crucial for production of aromatic amino acids in the shikimic acid pathway. If EPSPS is disrupted, the plant eventually dies. Using an innovative technique called fluorescence in situ ...
Wed, 27 Mar 2013 10:22:29 -0700

A team of researchers in the US claims to have found clear evidence of a microbe that conducts electricity along protein filaments, just like a metal. By showing that aromatic amino acids are critical to both the electrical and respiratory activities ...
Nanowerk LLC
Tue, 12 Mar 2013 06:36:51 -0700

"It's the aromatic amino acids that make it a wire," says lead author Derek Lovley of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Lovley and his colleagues removed the pivotal amino acids from the pili and replaced them with smaller, non-aromatic amino ...
Mon, 09 Aug 2010 12:23:41 -0700

We describe the use of an auto-induction medium containing N-(phosphono-methyl)glycine (glyphosate) as a means for high-level introduction of nonstandard aromatic amino acids into a protein. We illustrate this approach by preparing maltose binding ...

Texas A&M University

Texas A&M University
Thu, 11 Dec 2014 13:33:45 -0800

The research team focused on aromatic amino acids (AAAs) because their metabolites are involved in many of the more than 2,400 distinct reactions expressed in the microbiota as a whole. Next steps for the team include identifying microbiota metabolites ...

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