USMLE

Aspartate

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Amino Acids
  1. Serine
  2. Asparagine
  3. Alanine
  4. Valine
  5. Leucine
  6. Isoleucine
  7. Phenylalanine
  8. Tryptophan
  9. Methionine
  10. Proline
  11. Glycine
  12. Threonine
  13. Cysteine
  14. Tyrosine
  15. Glutamine
  16. Aspartate
  17. Glutamate
  18. Histidine
  19. Lysine
  20. Arginine

Summary

Aspartate, which abbreviates to the 3-letter Asp or 1-letter D, is one of the 20 amino acids that make up proteins in our body. Aspartate’s R-group consists of a carboxylic acid at the end of a short, 1-carbon chain. Due to this carboxyl group, aspartate is a polar, hydrophilic amino acid. The carboxylic acid can also act as a proton donor, making Aspartate an acidic, negatively charged amino acid at physiological pH. 

Key Points

  • Aspartate
    • Also known as Aspartic Acid
    • Abbreviations
      • Asp, D
    • Chemical Structure
    • R-group: -CH2-Carboxyl
      • Carboxyl
        • Contrast vs. Asparagine (which has amide instead of carboxyl)
        • “-ate” ending denotes ionic form of carboxylic acid
      • 1 bridging methylene carbon (-CH2-)
        • Contrast vs. Glutamate (which has 2 bridging carbons)
    • Polarity
      • Polar (water soluble/hydrophilic)
    • Acidity/Basicity
      • Acidic
      • pKa = 4 (rounded)
    • Charge at pH 7
      • Negative (-)
    • Other Information
      • Called Aspartic Acid when deprotonated