A sulfur-containing amino
acid (HSCH2CH2COOH) that occurs in animal proteins,
especially those in hair, hooves, and the keratin
of skin; the HS– group in it makes it
the catalytic element in some enzymes. The
disulfide (S-S) links between adjacent cysteine molecules in polypeptide
chains contribute to the three-dimensional molecular structure of proteins.
|Ball-and-stick representation of the cysteine molecule.
Gray=C, red=O, blue=N, yellow=S, white=H