What Is The Building Block Of Nucleic Acids

What Is The Building Block Of Nucleic Acids – Humans and all other living things have DNA, which contains genetic information. The information in your DNA instructs your cells to produce proteins. Proteins drive important body functions, such as digesting food, building cells, and moving your muscles.

Your DNA is the most unique and identifying factor about you—it helps determine what color your eyes are, how tall you are, and how likely you are to have certain health problems. However, more than 99% of DNA sequences are identical in all humans. It’s the remaining 1% that explains a lot of what makes you who you are!

What Is The Building Block Of Nucleic Acids

What Is The Building Block Of Nucleic Acids

DNA is arranged like two intertwined strands, called a double helix (see Figure 1). Each strand of DNA is made up of four types of molecules, also called bases, attached to a sugar-phosphate backbone. The four bases are adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C), and thymine (T). The bases on the two strands of the helix pair in a specific way: adenine pairs with thymine, and cytosine pairs with guanine.

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Genes are packaged into tightly wound lengths of DNA called chromosomes. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes. Sex chromosomes, known as X or Y, determine whether a person is male or female.

Each chromosome can be identified by its size and shape under the microscope. Each has a specific set of genes that are the same from person to person. One copy of each chromosome in a pair is inherited from each parent, which means that you get one copy of each gene from your mother and one copy from your father.

At the center of each chromosome is a centromere, a small structure that divides the chromosomes into two halves (see Figure 2). Each part is called a hand. Genes are located on the arms of chromosomes.

Each arm of a chromosome has caps called telomeres, which help protect the chromosomes. As you age, your telomere caps become shorter and shorter and are less able to protect your chromosomes from damage.

Building Blocks Of The Genetic Code

Genes are small segments of DNA that have different functions. Many, but not all, genes make proteins that our bodies need to function. You have two copies of each gene, one in a pair on each chromosome.

Genes that code for proteins come in different versions called alleles. Alleles of a gene have differences in the exact DNA sequence. A common example of this is eye color. We all have the same genes for eye color, but different allele combinations within those genes result in different eye colors.

Traits are your observable characteristics. Many physical traits are genetic. Genetic variations give information to our body that results in symptoms that vary from person to person. We may also use genetic information to determine whether you may have inherited characteristics.

What Is The Building Block Of Nucleic Acids

A variation from the expected sequence of a gene is called a variation or mutation. Variations can be inherited from your parents, or they can occur spontaneously. We all have variants, but not all variants are harmful. Harmful variants can cause or increase our risk for certain diseases.

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Figure 3 below shows a DNA variant where thymine is replaced by cytosine. This can cause the gene to produce a different protein that doesn’t work properly. Home » Student Resources » Online Chemistry Textbooks » CH450 and CH451: Biochemistry – Defining Life at the Molecular Level » Chapter 4: DNA, RNA, and the Human Genome

Chapter 4: DNA, RNA, and the Human Genome 4.1 The Structure of DNA and RNA 4.2 Chromosomes and Packaging 4.3 The Sequence of the Human Genome 4.4 References

Along with proteins, lipids and complex carbohydrates (polysaccharides), nucleic acids are one of the four major types of macromolecules that are essential for all known forms of life. Nucleic acids consist of two major macromolecules, deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA) that carry the genetic instructions for the development, function, growth and reproduction of all known organisms and viruses. The DNA macromolecule (Figure 4.1) consists of two polynucleotide chains that coil around each other to form a double helix. An RNA macromolecule usually exists as a single polynucleotide chain that is much shorter than a comparable DNA molecule.

Figure 4.1: Structure of the DNA double helix. Atoms in the structure are color-coded by element and the detailed structures of the two base pairs are shown at bottom right.

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The main structure of a nucleic acid monomer is the nucleoside, which consists of a sugar residue + a nitrogenous base attached to the sugar residue at the 1′ position (Figure 4.2). The sugar used for RNA monomers is ribose, while DNA monomers use deoxyribose which has lost the hydroxyl functional group at the 2′ position of the ribose. For a DNA molecule, there are four nitrogenous bases that are included in the standard DNA structure. These include the purines: adenine (A) and guanine (G), and the pyrimidines: cytosine (C) and thymine (T). RNA uses the same nitrogenous bases as DNA except thymine. Thymine is replaced by uracil (U) in the RNA structure.

When one or more phosphate groups are attached to a nucleoside at the 5′ position of a sugar residue, it is called a nucleotide. Nucleotides come in three flavors depending on how many phosphates are involved: incorporation of one phosphate forms a nucleoside monophosphate, incorporation of two phosphates forms a nucleoside diphosphate, and incorporation of three phosphates forms a nucleoside (4.2).

Figure 4.2 Monomer building blocks of nucleic acids. The site of nitrogenous base attachment to the sugar residue (glycosidic bond) is shown in red.

What Is The Building Block Of Nucleic Acids

The double helix formed during DNA synthesis has several key physical properties (Figure 4.3). DNA is assembled in such a way that nucleoside monophosphates are incorporated into growing DNA chains. Unlike the protein α-helix, where the R-groups of the amino acids are placed on the outside of the helix, in the DNA double helix, the nitrogenous bases are placed on the inside and face each other. The backbone of DNA is made up of repeating sugar-phosphate-sugar-phosphate residues. Bases fit the double helical model if a pyrimidine on one strand is always paired with a purine on the other. From Chargaff’s rules, the two strands will pair A with T and G with C. It combines a keto base with an amino base, a purine with a pyrimidine. Two H‑Bands can form between A and T and three can form between G and C. This third H-bond in the G:C base pair occurs between the extra exocyclic amino group on G and the C2 keto group on C. The pyrimidine C2 keto group is not involved in hydrogen bonding to the A:T base pair.

Dna Vs. Rna

Furthermore, the orientation of the sugar molecule within the strand determines the directionality of the strand. The phosphate group that forms part of the nucleotide monomer is always attached to the 5′ position of the deoxyribose sugar residue. The free end that can accept a new incoming nucleotide is the 3′ hydroxyl position of the deoxyribose sugar. Thus, DNA is directional and is always synthesized in the 5′ to 3′ direction. Interestingly, the two strands of the DNA double helix are in opposite directions or have a head-to-tail orientation.

Figure 4.3 Structure of DNA: The lower diagram shows the arrangement of nucleoside monophosphates within the nucleic acid structure. The four nucleotides in the upper right form two base-pairs: thymine and adenine (linked by a double hydrogen bond) and guanine and cytosine (linked by a triple hydrogen bond). Individual nucleotide monomers are chain-linked to their sugar and phosphate molecules, forming the two ‘backbones’ (a double helix) of nucleic acid shown in the upper left.

The nucleotide required as a monomer for the synthesis of both DNA and RNA is the high energy nucleoside triphosphate. Upon incorporation of a nucleotide into a polymeric structure, two phosphate groups from each triphosphate, (Pi-Pi, called pyrophosphate) are cleaved from the incoming nucleotide and further hydrolyzed during the reaction, leaving a nucleoside monophosphate that is incorporated into RNA. or DNA chain (Figure 4.4). Incorporation of the incoming nucleoside triphosphate is mediated by nucleophilic attack of the 3′-OH of the growing DNA polymer. Thus, DNA synthesis is directional, occurring only at the 3′-end of the molecule.

Further hydrolysis of pyrophosphate (Pi-Pi) releases a large amount of energy, ensuring that the overall reaction has a negative ΔG. Hydrolysis of Pi-Pi -> 2Pi has ΔG = -7 kcal/mol and is required to provide an overall negative ΔG (-6.5 kcal/mol) of the DNA synthesis reaction. Hydrolysis of the pyrophosphate also ensures that the reverse reaction, pyrophosphorolysis, does not remove the newly incorporated nucleotide from the growing DNA chain.

What Are The Building Blocks Of Dna And Rna?

This reaction is mediated by a family of enzymes on DNA called DNA polymerases. Similarly, RNA polymerase is required for RNA synthesis. A more detailed description of the polymerase reaction mechanism will be covered in Chapters X and Y, covering DNA replication and repair, and DNA transcription.

Figure 4.4 Nucleic acid synthesis: In nucleic acid synthesis, the 3’OH of the growing chain of nucleotides attacks the α-phosphate.

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