The alanine molecule in 3-D

The alanine molecule - rotatable in 3 dimensions

3 letter code:     ala        1 letter code:    A
Alanine is an aliphatic amino acid. It is effectively glycine with one hydrogen replaced by a methyl group. It can also be described as methyl-aminoethanoic acid or methyl-aminoacetic acid.

Like all amino acids, it has an amino group (-NH2) - blue with 2 white balls - at one end, and a carboxylic acid group (-COOH) - grey, connected to red, and red and white - at the other end. Between these is the α- (alpha) carbon to which the 'R' group is attached.

In alanine, the 'R' group is a methyl (-CH3) group. It is therefore one stage up from glycine.

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