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Key People:Har Gobind KhoranaWalter GilbertTorbjörn Oskar CasperssonAaron KlugPhoebus Levene...(Show more)Related Topics:RNADNANucleotideBase pairNucleoside...(Show more)

Nucleic acids room naturally developing chemical compounds that offer as the major information-carrying molecules in cells. They play specifically important duty in directing protein synthesis. The two key classes of nucleic acids room deoxyribonucleic mountain (DNA) and also ribonucleic acid (RNA).


Nucleic mountain are lengthy chainlike molecules composed of a collection of practically identical building blocks callednucleotides. Eachnucleotideconsists the a nitrogen-containing aromatic base attached to a pentose (five-carbon)sugar, i m sorry is in turn attached come aphosphategroup.


Each main point acid has four the five possible nitrogen-containingbases:adenine(A),guanine(G),cytosine(C),thymine(T), anduracil(U). A and G room categorized aspurines, andC, T, and also U space calledpyrimidines. All main point acids save the bases A, C, and G; T, however, is found only in DNA, when U is uncovered in RNA.


Nucleic acid, naturally occurring chemical compound the is capable of being broken down to yield phosphoric acid, sugars, and also a mixture of organic bases (purines and also pyrimidines). Nucleic acids room the key information-carrying molecules of the cell, and, through directing the procedure of protein synthesis, they determine the inherited attributes of every life thing. The two key classes of main point acids are deoxyribonucleic mountain (DNA) and also ribonucleic acid (RNA). DNA is the understand blueprint for life and also constitutes the genetic material in every free-living organisms and most viruses. RNA is the hereditary material of details viruses, however it is additionally found in all living cells, whereby it plays an essential role in specific processes such as the make of proteins.

This write-up covers the chemistry of main point acids, explicate the structures and also properties that enable them to serve as the transmitters of genetic information. For a discussion of the genetic code, see heredity, and for a discussion of the function played by nucleic acids in protein synthesis, see metabolism.

Nucleotides: structure blocks of nucleic acids

Basic structure

Nucleic acids are polynucleotides—that is, long chainlike molecules written of a series of virtually identical building blocks referred to as nucleotides. Every nucleotide consists of a nitrogen-containing aromatic base attached to a pentose (five-carbon) sugar, i m sorry is consequently attached come a phosphate group. Each nucleic acid consists of four of five possible nitrogen-containing bases: adenin (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C), thymine (T), and uracil (U). A and also G space categorized as purines, and C, T, and also U are jointly called pyrimidines. All nucleic acids save on computer the bases A, C, and also G; T, however, is found only in DNA, when U is discovered in RNA. The pentose sugar in DNA (2′-deoxyribose) differs from the street in RNA (ribose) by the lack of a hydroxyl team (―OH) ~ above the 2′ carbon that the street ring. Without an attached phosphate group, the street attached to one of the bases is known as a nucleoside. The phosphate team connects succeeding sugar residual water by bridging the 5′-hydroxyl team on one street to the 3′-hydroxyl group of the next sugar in the chain. This nucleoside linkages are called phosphodiester bonds and are the exact same in RNA and also DNA.

Biosynthesis and degradation

Nucleotides space synthesized native readily obtainable precursors in the cell. The ribose phosphate part of both purine and also pyrimidine nucleotides is synthesized native glucose via the pentose phosphate pathway. The six-atom pyrimidine ring is synthesized very first and subsequently attached come the ribose phosphate. The 2 rings in purines are synthesized if attached come the ribose phosphate during the assembly of adenin or guanine nucleosides. In both instances the finish product is a nucleotide transporting a phosphate attached come the 5′ carbon on the sugar. Finally, a specialized enzyme referred to as a kinase adds two phosphate teams using adenosine triphosphate (ATP) together the phosphate donor to form ribonucleoside triphosphate, the instant precursor of RNA. For DNA, the 2′-hydroxyl team is eliminated from the ribonucleoside diphosphate to give deoxyribonucleoside diphosphate. An additional phosphate team from ATP is then included by one more kinase to form a deoxyribonucleoside triphosphate, the instant precursor of DNA.

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During normal cell metabolism, RNA is constantly being made and also broken down. The purine and pyrimidine residues room reused by number of salvage pathways to make more genetic material. Purine is salvaged in the type of the corresponding nucleotide, vice versa, pyrimidine is salvaged together the nucleoside.