Cysteine (abbreviated as Cys or C) is an α-amino acid with the chemical formula HO2CCH(NH2)CH2SH. It is a semi-essential amino acid, which means that it can be biosynthesized in humans. The thiol side chain in cysteine often participates in enzymatic reactions, serving as a nucleophile. The thiol is susceptible to oxidization to give the disulfide derivative cystine, which serves an important structural role in many proteins. When used as a food additive, it has the E number E920.