Sunday, December 17, 2006

December 17, 2006 (G2) Tyrosine

Tyrosine - the Ascension (G2)

December 17, 2006 - (Wisdom) - Seven days to the Vigil!

Today is Gaudete Sunday, the third or Pink Sunday of Advent, and also the first of the Greater Feria, the most childlike of the Advent season wherein Mother Church counts down the remaining days just as the ancient Romans, on whose calendars the numbers went down rather than up. So from now one, we must, as highways do, and synonyms, and IP addresses, and other things both technical and non-technical, double up and write about two things for the same day.

O Wisdom! Come, and give us Your light which is Light from Light! Hurry, do not delay!

Today being Sunday, I again turn to the Glorious Mysteries. The last of these is reserved for special consideration at the proper time, so there is only one remaining: G2, the Ascension. Although it is celebrated on a Thursday, it is a miniature of Easter, which occurred the mystic number of forty days previous. The Lord gives His final instructions, setting up a self-propagating (a living) organism: "Go forth and teach (make disciples of) all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to do everything I have commanded you. And know that I am with you always, even to the consummation of the kosmos." [Don't forget that "disciple" comes from the Latin word whichmeans "student" - a follower of a teacher. To have "discipline" is to work as a student does, intent on acquiring whatever the Teacher has to offer.]

When He had finished these bnrief instructions, He blessed them. And then He was lifted up... but they were joyful, and went back to Jerusalem to pray, and wait as He had told them earlier. And in nine days, the Spirit came, giving gifts, among which was Wisdom... (see above!)

Just as I have almost run out of Glorious Mysteries, so have I almost run out of amino acids with rings in their side chains - ah, but there is one more left. (Yes, as you will see, the one other remaining is already allocated to G5, but if you already know what that is, please don't give it away!)

For G2, then, let us consider Tyrosine:

Tyrosine (abbreviated Tyr or Y)
RNA Codes:

Tyrosine only has two codes, both of which begin with UA, and are followed by a pyrimidine (C or U).

The side chain for Tyrosine is a methyl (like Alanine of J2) but with one hydrogen replaced with a benzene ring, as in Phenylalanine of G1) - but the para position of that benzene has had its hydrogen removed and substituted with an -OH (hydroxide, or alcohol) group. Thus, Tyrosine is just the alcohol version of Phenylalanine.

This close similarity hints at the very close relation between G1 and G2. Both are utterly supernatural - a man rises from the dead; a man ascends to heaven! The ring character of both Phenylalanine and Tyrosine is not similar to the other amino acids with rings in their side-chains; indeed, the other three are all remarkably distinct: Histidine with a pentagon containing nitrogen; Tryptophan with a two-ring structure; and - ah - another to be discussed soon. (Not long now!)

Even more remarkably, where Phenylalanine is hydrophobic, the -OH group means that Tyrosine is hydrophilic. While in most cases I use that property to suggest the "Public Life", in this case it suggests the command of our Lord to baptize all nations... Rather than complicate my discussion of Histidine (G3) at the very beginning, I neglected to mention that it too is hydrophilic, symbolizing the baptism of the 3,000 who were added on the day of Pentecost.

Let us, then, today thank God for sending forth His apostles to spread the good news: Christmas and Passion and Easter, and the baptism which gives the shape of the New Life where we share in those mysteries! And remember, too, that we are now bound to do the same: "their message goes out to all the earth" [See Ps 19(18)]


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