Amino acid mnemonics for the biology olympiad

martyna p Tips and Tricks

MNEMONICS FOR AMINO ACID PROPERTIES

GLAMP TVIP = nonpolar, hydrophobic – Glycine, Leucine, Alanine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Tryptophan, Valine, Isoleucine, Proline

TCSy-TAG – like cyborg, charged – Tyrosine, Cysteine, Serine, Threonine, Asparagine, Glutamine

Acidic, there’s only 2 – Glutamate, Aspartate

Basic – HALelujiah – Histidine, Arginine, Lysine

Aromatic – PfTT, since they have a smell – Phenylalanine, Tyrosine, Tryptophan

ONE LETTER ABBREVIATION EXCEPTIONS

There some some amino acids which do not use the first letter of the amino acid name as their abbreviation. These include:  

    • K = lysine
      • Think ‘Klysine’
    • Y = tyrosine.
      • Think ‘tYrosine
    • D = aspartic acid
      • Think ‘asparDic acid’
    • Q = glutamine.
      • Think ‘Q-tamine’
    • R = arginine.
      • Think ‘R-ginine’
    • E = glutamic acid.
      • Think ‘glutEmic’ acid’
    • F = phenylalanine
      • Think ‘Fenylalanine’
    • N = asparagine
      • Think ‘Nasparagine’
  • W = tryptophan
    • Think ‘tWyptophan’.

Another useful memory aid is below:

Non-polar aliphatic amino acids:

  • FVIP WGLAM:
        • Phenylalanine (F)
      • (V)aline
      • (I)soleucine
      • (P)roline
        • Tryptophan (W)
      • (G)lycine
      • (L)eucine
      • (A)lanine
    • (M)ethionine

Polar uncharged amino acids:

  • SanTa Never Quits ChrYstmas:
          • (S)erine
          • (T)hreonine
          • Asparagi(N)e
          • Glutamine (Q)
        • (C)ysteine
        • T(Y)rosine

Aromatic: WhifFY

  • Tryptophan (W), Phenylanine (F), t(Y)rosine

Having -OH groups:

      • Can be phosphorylated
    • STaY
      • (S)erine, (T)hreonine, T(Y)rosine

Charged:

    • Acidic
        • DEath is always negative (-)
      • Aspartate (D), Glutamat(E)
  • Basic:
    • His Lies Are Basic’ or BAHRK (pronounced as bark)
      • (H)istidine , Lysine (K), A(R)ginine

ONE LETTER ABBREVIATIONS FOR AMINO ACIDS

Aromatic amino acids: WFY (read as “wifey”). WFY always smells good!

    • W (Tryptophan)

    • F (Phenylalanine)

  • Y (Tyrosine).

Polar amino acids:

QSCYNT:

    • Q: Glutamine

    • S: Serine

    • C: Cysteine

    • Y: Tyrosine
    • N: Asparagine

  • T: Threonine

    • Nonpolar, Nonaromatic AVGLIMP (pronounce it like it’s spelled)

    • Polar STQNC (pronounce it like “stick Nick”)

    • Aromatic WYF (pronounce like “wife”, a woman who is aromatic (?) lol)

    • +ve RKH (I just remember RKH)

    • -ve ED (“Ed”)

    • Hydrophobic FLAVI (like the virus)

  • Hydrophilic REKHN (like “reckon” but also pronounce the H)

SPECIAL FEATURES OF AMINO ACIDS

To find out about special features of amino acids, get our printable amino acid review handout.