Project Title:

Amino Acid Detection and Modelling


Shahidul Islam

      Shahidul Islam


Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and muscle tissues. There are about 500 amino acids found in nature; among those, twenty naturally-occurring amino acids are commonly found in antibody and other protein structures. The basic structure of an amino acid (except Proline) contains an amino group, a carboxylic acid, and a distinctive side chain; carbon atom at the centre of the structure is a-carbon. The a-carbon and side chain of Proline form a five member ring structure, hence, contains an imino group, rather than an amino group. These amino acids are linked together through peptide bond where the carboxyl group of one amino acid interacts with the amino group of the other amino acid, form a covalent amide linkage and eliminate a water molecule.

Amino acids have a wide range of biological functions. The biological functions of an antibody, or any other protein, depend on the amino acids that are joined to form the protein structure. Therefore, to understand how an antibody behaves or interacts with antigen in a biological condition, it is important to understand the different characteristics of amino acids. Besides, amino acid supplements are used as anti-aging agents, as nutrients for muscle growth, and to reduce body fat.

Amino acids are also used as the biomarkers of kidney diseases, diabetes and oxidative stress. Detection of specific amino acids helps diagnosing the presence of tumor cells at the stage of presentation. Paper based diagnostics can offer an attractive option for the accurate, quick and low-cost detection of amino acids as biomarkers.

The proposed research programme will have both experimental and theoretical components. The experimental part of the research programme aims to develop paper diagnostics for the low-cost detection of amino acids as biomarkers.

The theoretical study will calculate and analyze the electronic and structural properties of amino acids at ionic and non-ionic conditions, using different Quantum Mechanical techniques. The understanding of amino acids as antibody building blocks will allow predicting the antibody-antigen interactions at antibody binding regions, which will help not only to develop antibody based paper sensors, but will also assist in clinical diagnosis and drug development.

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