Functions of Nucleic Acids in Living System Report

Added on - 21 Apr 2020

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Running head: FUNCTIONS OF NUCLEIC ACIDS IN LIVING SYSTEMSFUNCTIONS OF NUCLEIC ACIDS IN LIVING SYSTEMSName of the StudentName of the UniversityAuthor Note
1FUNCTIONS OF NUCLEIC ACIDS IN LIVING SYSTEMSNucleic acids refer to the deoxyribonucleic acids and ribonucleic acids. These are termedas DNA and RNA. The structures of both DNA and RNA are similar but RNA has a ribosesugar, while DNA has a deoxyribose sugar. The structure of nucleic acids can be divided intoprimary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary structures.The primary structure is a linear nucleotide sequence held together by phosphodiesterbonds. Nucleotides consist of nitrogenous bases like adenine, guanine, cytosine, thymine (forDNA) or uracil (for RNA). Apart from nitrogenous bases, nucleotides consist of five-carbonsugars and phosphate groups. The nitrogenous bases form a glycosidic bond with the 1’-OHgroups of both ribose and deoxyribose. The phosphate groups form ester bonds with the 5’-OHgroups of the sugar. DNA is double stranded, while RNA is single stranded (Egli and Saenger2013). The secondary structure of DNA consists of a double helix. The two strands of DNA inthe double helix is held together by hydrogen bonds. The nucleotides of one strand formshydrogen bonds with the nucleotides of the adjacent strand. However, the guanine cytosinepairing is carried out by three hydrogen bonds, while two hydrogen bonds are present betweenadenine and thymine (Jeffrey and Saenger 2012).The hydrogen bonds are weaker compared to the other strong bonds holding the twostrands together. These include the stacking interactions between bases. The stacking interactionsare stabilized by hydrophobic interactions and Vander Waals interactions. The secondarystructure of RNA consists of helices, bulges, loops, among others. The most common secondarystructure of RNA is the hairpin or stem loop structure. The tertiary structure of a DNA doublehelix consists of B-DNA, A-DNA and Z-DNA. The quaternary structure of nucleic acidsinvolves higher levels of organizations like chromatin, which involves interaction of nucleicacids with small proteins called histones.
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