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Nucleic acids

DNA and RNA are the main types of

nucleic acid. A nucleotide

They are composed of repeated units

called nucleotides.
Each nucleotide is composed of:
1- A nitrogenous base,
2- A pentose sugar and
3- A phosphate group.
The nitrogenous base may be:
i- Pyrimidines:
They comprise i) Pyrimidine
Cytosine (C),
Thymine (T) and
Uracil (U).
ii- Purines:
ii) Purine
They comprise
Adenine (A) and
Guanine (G). The nitrogenous bases of DNA
Both DNA and RNA contain adenine and guanine (purine bases) and
cytosine (pyrimidine bases).

Thymine is found in DNA while uracil is found in RNA.

There are two major pentoses in nucleic acids: deoxyribose in DNA and
ribose in RNA.
The phosphate group is found in the nucleotide of both DNA and RNA.
Nucleotides are linked together in both DNA and RNA via covalent
bonds that found between phosphate group and pentose sugar.
Nitrogenous bases (purine or pyrimidine) are joined by glycosidic
bonds to pentose sugar of a repeating sugar-phosphate backbone.
RNA is usually a single-stranded, whereas DNA is usually a double-
stranded helix.
In DNA, the nitrogenous bases of the two strands are connected
together via hydrogen bonds.
Adenine binds to thymine through two hydrogen bonds while cytosine
binds to guanine by three hydrogen bonds.
The sequence of a nucleic acid is usually read from 5' (the end that has
the phosphate group) to 3' (the end which has not phosphate group).
The two strands of DNA run in opposite directions i.e. 5' end of one
strand is opposite 3' end of the other strand.
A single strand A single strand A double strand
of DNA of RNA of DNA

DNA is found mainly in the nucleus. Very small amount is found in the
RNA is formed in the nucleus and pass to the cytoplasm carrying the
informations about the structure of protein which will synthesized in
the ribosomes.
There are different types of RNA; the most famous of them are
messenger RNA (mRNA), transfer RNA (tRNA) and ribosomal RNA
Genes Enzymes Metabolism

Transcription Translation
DNA RNA Protein

DNA sequence RNA sequence amino acid sequence

Triplet sequence in DNA Codon in mRNA Amino acid in protein

(TAC) (AUG) (Met.)
Replication is the
copying of DNA
into DNA.

Transcription is
the copying of DNA
sequence into RNA.

Translation is the
copying of RNA
sequence into
Triplet sequence in DNA is the genetic word called codon.

A trilet sequence of nucleotides (CAT) in a polynucleotide (i.e. 3

nucleotides) equal to 1 codon which again equal to 1 amino acid.

The Size of human genome is ≈ 3,000,000,000 base

pairs ≈ 500,000,000 possible codons (words or amino acids).

Humans, mice and indeed all mammals have roughly the same
number of nucleotides in their genomes (about 3 billion base
Cell division
Cell division in prokaryotes
Prokaryotes such as bacteria use a relatively simple form of cell division
called binary fission.

Typically bacterial chromosomes consist of a single loop of DNA often

called circular DNA but eukaryotes have a linear DNA molecule.
When the prokaryote reaches to a level to be dividing, the circular
chromosome attaches to the cell membrane at a certain point.
Bacterial chromosome replicates leading to two identical chromosomes
which are attached to separate points.
The cell begins to divide giving two daughter cells which are identical to
the parent cell.

Bacteria can divide every 20 -30 minutes.

This gives bacteria a remarkable power of multiplication where each cell
gives 2.81 x 1014 bacteria after one day.
Cell division in eukaryotes
There are two types of cell divisions which are mitosis and meiosis.
The cell cycle
There are two main stages in the cell cycle:
I) Interphase:
It is the part of the cell cycle when the cell is doing its normal job.
Generally, there are one or more nucleoli in each cell which are the sites
of ribosomal RNA synthesis.
Interphase has three big phases which are:

1) G1 phase
◙ In this phase, the cell is doing its normal (everyday) job.
◙ ◙ At this time, chromosome (2n) are called unduplicated or
unreplicated chromosomes.
$ Usually, G1 is the longest period of the cell cycle.
$ However, in some embryonic cells that are rapidly divided, G1 might
only last a few minutes i.e. very short.
$ Some cells, like nerve cells never leave G1 and this is sometimes
called a G0 state (phase).
$ G1 prepares the cell to undergo the next stage (S phase).
2) S phase
◙ All chromosomes are duplicated where DNA is replicated.
◙ ◙ New proteins are synthesized to assemble with new DNA forming
new chromosomes.
The time necessary to complete S phase varies between different life
stages and between species.
During S phase, the entire cell's DNA is duplicated resulting in 4 copies
of each gene instead of the normal 2 in a diploid cell.
3) G2 phase
◙ Cell prepares itself for mitosis by synthesizing needed components.
◙ ◙ Some cells remain in interphase (G1 + S + G2) their whole life
because they do not divide e.g. nerve cells and adult muscle cells.
The result of cell cycle is the cell proliferation (division) while any
uncontrolled proliferation leads to cancer.
☼ Cells spend most of their time in this intermediate non-mitotic state
☼ ☼ Interphase is not a part of mitosis but it is stage between two
successive mitotic divisions.
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