s an α-amino acid with the formula HO2
. This essential amino acid is classified as nonpolar because of the hydrophobic nature of the benzyl side chain. L
-Phenylalanine is an electrically neutral amino acid, one of the twenty common amino acids used to biochemically form proteins, coded for by DNA. The codons for L
-phenylalanine are UUU and UUC. Phenylalanine is a precursor for tyrosine, the monoamine signaling molecules dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine, and the skin pigment melanin.
Phenylalanine is found naturally in the breast milk of mammals. It is used in the manufacture of food and drink products and sold as a nutritional supplement for its reputed analgesic and antidepressant effects.