Amino acid mnemonics for the biology olympiad

martyna p Tips and Tricks

MNEMONICS FOR AMINO ACID PROPERTIES

GLAMVIP = nonpolar, they’re fabulous so they like to stay inside (hydrophobic) – Glycine, Leucine, Alanine, Methionine, Valine, Isoleucine, Proline

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

Acidic, there’s only 2 – Glutamate, Aspartate

Basic – HALelujiah – Histidine, Arginine, Lysine

Aromatic – PfTT, since they 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:

  • VIP GLAM:
    • (V)aline
    • (I)soleucine
    • (P)roline
    • (G)lycine
    • (L)eucine
    • (A)lanine
    • (M)ethionine.

Polar uncharged amino acids:

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

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:

QSCNT: Because the Queen iS a CuNT!

  • Q: Glutamine

  • S: Serine

  • C: Cysteine

  • 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.

Amino acid review handout