Aspartic Acid

Aspartic Acid Molecule

Aspartic Acid: Amino acid required for maintenance and cell function

Aspartic acid is a non-essential amino acid and plays an important role in energy production and metabolism. Aspartic acid assists in generating energy by transporting NADH from the cell into the mitochondria, which in turn produces ATP. Moreover, it is also one of the key players in removal of body toxins such as ammonia. It combines with other amino acids to form larger molecules, which absorbs ammonia from the bloodstream. This mechanism helps protect the central nervous system from excessive ammonia which leads to a condition called hepatic encephalopathy.

How does Aspartic Acid look like in Chemistry?

Aspartic Acid Molecule

Let’s Get Building!

Using your Student Molecular Set from Duluth Labs let’s create Aspartic Acid! You’ll need:

  • 4 Carbon atoms
  • 4 Oxygen atoms
  • 7 Hydrogen atoms
  • 1 Nitrogen atom
  • 7 Small connectors (compact small bonds for hydrogen)
  • 6 Medium Connectors
  • 4 Long connectors
  • Molecular Tool (for Disassembly) 

Put aside all the atoms and connectors needed.

Let’s Start Building With Our Amino Acid Skeleton portion

Aspartic Acid Molecule

Note: We will build the skeleton portion of our amino acid starting with our chiral carbon(α Carbon).

Steps:

  • 1
    Aspartic Acid Molecule

    1. Get one carbon atom (α Carbon) then, place one hydrogen atom at the back side using one small connector.

  • 2
    Aspartic Acid Molecule

    2. Then, get another carbon atom (β Carbon) then place this in front of α Carbon using 1 medium connector. Add 2 hydrogen atoms onβ Carbon using 2 small connectors.

  • 3
    Aspartic Acid Molecule

    3. Attach another carbon (Carbonyl Carbon)on α Carbon using 1 medium connector.

  • 4
    Aspartic Acid Molecule

    4. Get an Oxygen atom and attach this to the Carbonyl Carbon using 2 long connectors.

  • 5
    Aspartic Acid Molecule

    5. Get another Oxygen atom then attach this to the Carbonyl Carbon using a medium connector. Place a hydrogen atom on this oxygen using one small connector.

  • 6
    Aspartic Acid Molecule

    6. Then, get your Nitrogen atom and attach this to the α Carbon using one medium connector. Place 2 hydrogen atoms on this Nitrogen using 2 small connectors.

  • Aspartic Acid Molecule

    Yay! We've just built our amino acid skeleton!

Note: Let’s now attach the side chain containing the carboxyl groupat the beta (β) carbon – starting off with the Gamma (γ) Carbon.

Aspartic Acid Molecule

Steps:

  • 1
    Aspartic Acid Molecule

    1. Get one Carbon atom(Gamma or γ Carbon) then attach this to the beta (β) carbon using 1 medium connector.

  • 2
    Aspartic Acid Molecule

    2. Get your Oxygen atom and attach this to the gamma(or γ)carbon using 1 medium connector. Place a 1 hydrogen atom on this oxygen using one small connector.

  • 3
    Aspartic Acid Molecule

    3. Get another Oxygen atom then attach this again to the gamma(or γ) carbon using 2 long connectors.

  • 4
    Aspartic Acid Molecule

    Hooray! We now have our L-Aspartic acid molecule!

Now, try this! Let’s build another Aspartic acid molecule by following the steps outlined above. Then let’s try to interchange the Hydrogen attached to the alpha (α) carbon and the beta (β) Carbon containing the carboxylic acid functional group.

Arginine Molecule

Steps:

  • 1
    Aspartic Acid Molecule

    1. Build another aspartic acid molecule following the steps outlined above.

  • 2
    Arginine Molecule

    2. Detach the hydrogen atom and the beta (β) carbon containing the carboxyl side chain.

  • 3
    Arginine Molecule

    3. Place the hydrogen atomin front of the alpha (α) carbon.

  • 4

    4. Then, attach the beta (β) carbon with the carboxylic acid functional group at the back side of alpha (α) carbon.

There we go! We now have 2 molecules of Aspartic Acid! See how these molecules seem to mirror each other!

L –Aspartic Acid

Aspartic Acid Molecule

D–Aspartic Acid

Great work! Now we have our newly-built Aspartic acid molecule.

See how these molecules seem to mirror each other!

Feel free to show us how your Aspartic acid turned out!


Comment and share pictures below!

Tune in next week for another Molecule of the week!

See you then xoxo :)

Duluth Labs

Afton Direct LLC


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