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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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85 news items

Center for Research on Globalization

Center for Research on Globalization
Fri, 16 Jan 2015 07:11:15 -0800

5) Glyphosate interferes with the shikimate pathway, which is used by both microbes and plants to produce the essential aromatic amino acids. Our own cells don't have this pathway, and they depend upon food sources and synthesis by gut microbes to ...
Nanowerk LLC
Mon, 11 Mar 2013 21:41:15 -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 ...
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 ...

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 ...
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 ...
Fri, 01 Aug 2014 00:18:45 -0700

Aromatic amino acids, present in most proteins, fluoresce upon UV excitation. The fluorescence spectrum of a protein gives a clear idea of the conformational state of the protein and its amino acid composition. During the transition of the protein from ...
Common Ground.ca
Fri, 31 Oct 2014 18:32:35 -0700

Glyphosate binds tightly to the manganese atom at the centre of the EPSPS metalloprotein, so tightly that the protein cannot move and do its work making aromatic amino acids. No protein synthesis means there is no metabolic work possible, a quick death ...
Center for Research on Globalization
Tue, 23 Dec 2014 17:41:15 -0800

Bacteria, fungi, algae, parasites, and plants use a seven-step metabolic route known as the shikimate pathway for the biosynthesis of aromatic amino acids; glyphosate inhibits this pathway, causing the plant to die, which is why it's so effective as an ...

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