Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Question on Nucleic Acids

So, after 10 papercuts, blunt scissors and running out of glue, I present to you this question.

Can anyone here go through a basic (yet detailed) summary of Nucleic Acids, mostly in relation to Human Biochemistry.


38 comments:

gee_cee0 said...

Hmm, nucleic acids... Lets see, this is for chem right?

I don't really know what you need, but basically...

Nucleic acids are pretty much macromolecules, made up of monomers called nucleotides. Strands of nucleic acids are made up of many nucleotides joined together by phosphodiester bonds.

Nucleotides are made up of a phosphate group, a 5-C sugar(nucleoside) (ribose in RNA, deoxyribose in DNA) , and a nitrogenous base (dNTPs in DNA, sigh as dATP, dCTP, dTTP and dGTP corresponding to each base, see further down for explaination).

In humans, examples of nucleic acids are RNA and DNA. Examples of nucleotides are ATP (adenosine triphosphate, useable form of energy in cells) or dCTP (deoxy-cytidine triphosphate(I think that's how you spell it) Cytosine, one of the nucleotides consisting of nucleic acids in humans).

Um, in relation to humans I suppose you want to know about the different types of bases.

In human DNA there are 4 types of bases, A(adenine) T(Thymine) C(Cytosine) and G(Guanine). A always binds (hydrogen bond) with T, and C always binds with G. These hydrogen bonds hold the two strands of DNA together in a double helix.

In human RNA, Thymine is missing, and is instead substituted with U(Uracil). So A binds to U in RNA, which generally shouldn't happen unless the RNA is being synthesized, since RNA is normally single-stranded, unlike DNA.

Um, you probably know that DNA is located in the nucleus of all cells and contains information required for the development and normal function of the cell... So it pretty much controls everything happening in the human body.

I'll talk a bit about transcription, but I won't go any further unless you need it, in which case please follow up with a comment.

Transcription is the process of synthesizing RNA from DNA (since RNA comes from DNA anyway). RNA is basically a complementary copy of some DNA somewhere in a strand. So the bases are opposite to the template strand it was synthesized from.

Firstly, DNA (which is normally double stranded) strands are separated from each other with the enzyme helicase, and then the template strand, that is the strand from which you with to create the RNA molecule from, is isolated.

RNA primers bind to the starting points of synthesis, and act as a marker from where the RNA strand starts off. RNA polymerase then grabs random nucleotides floating around in the nucleus and adds them to the template DNA strand, extending the primer, as if creating a new double-stranded molecule.

So the RNA synthesized will have opposite bases to the template strand (C to G, G to C, T to A, A to U (Don't forget RNA has U instead of T)).

At the end, the RNA strand is detached from the template DNA strand and the two seperate DNA strands are allowed to wind back together again.

Yeah, comment please, tell me how far off this is from what you need, a few more specifics could help ;)

David Jin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Jin said...

(It really sucks that none of the important HTML commands work in comments -_-)

God Bio is boring huh?

I think that's mostly it, except for the actual structure of it. (From memory some circle thing, some (maybe) hexagon thing, then O and P (i think) with '=' lines. Yeah...

gee_cee0 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gee_cee0 said...

Ok, don't worry -.-" diagram on the next post.

I realised I missed a few things after drawing the thing, just added them in, see next post.

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