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Nucleic Acids

Nucleic Acids
Polynucleotides whose primary structure
contains a code or set of directions by which
they can duplicate themselves and guide the
synthesis of proteins.
2 types of nucleic acids:
1. DNA found mainly in the nucleus, contains
genetic codes to make RNA
2. RNA found in the cytoplasm although
synthesized in the nucleus, contains codes to
make proteins

What are the monomers of polynucleotides?


Polynucleotides are composed of nucleotides.
PHOSPATE

SUGAR
Ribose or
Deoxyribose

BASE
PURINES

PYRIMIDINES

Adenine (A) Cytocine (C)


Guanine(G) Thymine (T)
Uracil (U)

NUCLEOTIDE

The sugar: Ribose for RNA & 2-deoxyribose


for DNA
DEOXYRIBOSE

RIBOSE
CH2OH

C
H

OH

OH

CH2OH

OH

C
H

OH

OH

The nucleobases are purine or pyrimidine


derivatives

Some unusual
nucleobases (found
principally in tRNA)

Nucleoside = base + sugar

Purine Nucleotides

Purine Nucleotides

Pyrimidine Nucleotides

Pyrimidine Nucleotides

Pyrimidine Nucleotides

How do nucleotides combine to give nucleic acids?


By formation of an ester bond from one
nucleotide to the next. Result: 2 ester bonds
(3 of one nucleoside and 5 of the next
nucleoside), a 3,5-phosphodiester bond.

How do nucleotides combine to give nucleic acids?


By formation of an
ester bond from one
nucleotide to the
next. Result: 2 ester
bonds (3 of one
nucleoside and 5 of
the next nucleoside),
a 3,5-phosphodiester
bond.

The Structure of DNA


In terms of amounts, A=T and G=C (Chargaffs
Rule, 1950, Austrian chemist who taught in
Columbia U.). This led to the conclusion that the
DNA structure is composed of 2 polynucleotides
forming a helix (Watson & Crick, 1952).
What stabilizes the helix? H-bonds between
bases in opposite chains & base stacking
Russian chemist Phoebus Levene: discovered the
phosphate-sugar-base order in nucleotide,
discovered the sugar (ribose) component of RNA,
discovered the sugar (deoxyribose) component of
DNA

The Structure of DNA Chargaffs 2nd Rule

The Structure of DNA Base Pairing

Are there other conformations of the double helix?

Interactions of bases: base stacking

In standard B-DNA, each base pair is rotated


32 wrt the preceding base pair: optimal for
maximal base pairing, not optimal for maximal
overlap of bases, H2O gets into minor groove

Propeller-twist: optimal for maximal base


overlap, less optimal for maximal base pairing,
H2O is eliminated from minor groove

Supercoiling in
Prokaryotes

Supercoiling in
Prokaryotes

Supercoiling in
Eukaryotes

Denaturation of DNA
Involves breaking of H-bonds between base
pairs and the disruption of stacking
interactions.
Usually carried out by heating the DNA in
solution.
Greater amount of G-C pairs, higher melting
temperature of a DNA molecule.
G-C pairs are also more hydrophobic, so they
stack better, so higher melting temp.

The principal kinds of RNA