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You are watching: What is the structural feature that allows dna to replicate

Griffiths AJF, Gelbart WM, miller JH, et al. Modern Genetic Analysis. New York: W. H. Freeman; 1999.


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How execute we know that genomes are composed that DNA? using histochemical and also physicaltechniques, that is fairly simple to demonstrate this truth for eukaryotic nuclearchromosomes. DNA-binding dyes such together Feulgen or DAPI mostly stain the nuclearchromosomes in cells and also to a lesser extent additionally stain the mitochondria andchloroplasts. Furthermore if a fixed of cells is soil up and also its componentsfractionated, it becomes clear that the bulk of DNA deserve to be isolated native the nuclearfraction, and also the remainder indigenous mitochondria and also chloroplasts.

That DNA is the hereditary material has actually now been demonstrated in countless prokaryotes andeukaryotes. Cells of one genotype (the recipient) room exposed to DNA extracted fromanother (the donor), and also donor DNA is taken up by the receiver cells. Occasionallya piece of donor DNA integrates into the genome of the recipient and also changes someaspect of the phenotype the the recipient into that that the DNA donor. Together a resultdemonstrates that DNA is certainly the substance the determines genotype and also thereforeis the hereditary product (see genes inProcess 2-1).



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Genetics In Process 2-1: Oswald Avery’s demonstration the the hereditarymaterial is DNA.


The Three duties of DNA

Even prior to the structure of DNA to be elucidated, genetic studies clearlyindicated several properties that had to it is in fulfilled by hereditarymaterial.

One vital property is that essentially every cabinet in the body has actually the samegenetic makeup; therefore, the genetic material should be faithfully copied atevery cell division. The structural functions of DNA that enable such faithfulduplication will be thought about later in this chapter.

Secondly, the genetic material must have informational content, since it mustencode the constellation of protein expressed by an organism. Just how the codedinformation in DNA is deciphered right into protein will certainly be the topic of chapter 3.

Finally, return the framework of DNA must be fairly stable so thatorganisms have the right to rely top top its encoded information, it have to also permit the codedinformation to change on rarely occasion. This changes, calledmutations, carry out the raw material—genetic variation—thatevolutionary choice operates on. We will talk about the mechanisms of mutationin thing 7.


The building Blocks of DNA

DNA has actually three varieties of chemistry component: phosphate, a sugar calleddeoxyribose, and four nitrogenous bases—adenine,guanine, cytosine, and also thymine. Two of the bases, adenine and guanine, have actually adouble-ring framework characteristic that a type of chemical called apurine. The other two bases, cytosine and also thymine, have asingle-ring structure of a kind called a pyrimidine. Thechemical components of DNA are arranged into teams callednucleotides, each composed of a phosphate group, a deoxyribosesugar molecule, and any among the 4 bases. That is practically to refer to eachnucleotide through the first letter the the name of that base: A, G, C, and also T. Number 2-1 reflects the frameworks of the fournucleotides in DNA.


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Figure 2-1

Chemical framework of the 4 nucleotides (two v purine bases andtwo through pyrim-idine bases) that space the an essential building blocksof DNA. The street is dubbed deoxyribose since it is a sport ofa common sugar, ribose, which has one an ext (more...)


How have the right to a molecule v so few components satisfy the duties of a hereditarymolecule? Some ideas came in 1953 as soon as James Watson and Francis Crick showedprecisely how the nucleotides are arranged in DNA (see genes in process 2-2). DNAstructure is summary in the next section.



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Genetics In Process 2-2: James Watson and Francis Crick propose thecorrect framework for DNA.


DNA Is a double Helix

DNA is composed of two side-by-side chains (“strands”) of nucleotides twistedinto the shape of a double helix. The two nucleotide strands are organized togetherby weak associations in between the bases of every strand, forming a framework likea spiral staircase (Figure 2-2). Thebackbone of each strand is a repeating phosphate–deoxyribose sugar polymer. Thesugar-phosphate binding in this backbone are referred to as phosphodiesterbonds. The attachments of the phosphodiester bonds to the sugar groupsis necessary in describing the method in i beg your pardon a nucleotide chain is organized.Note that the carbons of the sugar groups are numbered 1′ with 5′. One partof the phosphodiester bond is between the phosphate and the 5′ carbon ofdeoxyribose, and the various other is between the phosphate and the 3′ carbon ofdeoxyribose. Thus, each sugar-phosphate backbone is stated to have actually a 5′-to-3′polarity, and also understanding this polarity is crucial in understanding exactly how DNAfulfills that is roles. In the double-stranded DNA molecule, the two backbones arein opposite, or antiparallel,orientation, as presented in figure 2-2. Onestrand is oriented 5′ → 3′; the various other strand, despite 5′ → 3′, operation in theopposite direction, or, looked at one more way, is 3′ → 5′.


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Figure 2-2

The plan of the materials of DNA. A segment the the twin helix has actually been unwound to present the structures more clearly. (a) Anaccurate chemistry diagram mirroring the sugar-phosphate backbone inblue and the hydrogen bonding the bases in the facility (more...)


The bases are attached to the 1′ carbon of every deoxyribose sugar in the backboneof each strand. Interactions in between pairs that bases, one from every strand, holdthe 2 strands the the DNA molecule together. The bases that DNA interactaccording come a very straightforward rule, namely, the there are just two typesof basic pairs: A·T and G·C. The bases in these 2 base pairs are stated to becomplementary. This method that at any “step” that the stairlikedouble-stranded DNA molecule, the just base-to-base associations that can existbetween the two strands without significantly distorting the double-stranded DNAmolecule room A·T and also G·C.

The combination of A with T and also G through C is with hydrogen bonds.The following is an example of a hydrogen bond:

Each hydrogen atom in the NH2 group is slightly positive(δ+) because the nitrogen atom tends to lure the electronsinvolved in the N–H bond, thereby leaving the hydrogen atom slightly brief ofelectrons. The oxygen atom has actually six unbonded electron in its outer shell, makingit slightly negative (δ−). A hydrogen bond forms between one slightlypositive H and also one slightly an unfavorable atom—in this example, O. Hydrogen binding arequite weak (only around 3 percent of the stamin of a covalent bond), however thisweakness (as us shall see) is necessary to the DNA molecule’s duty in heredity.One further important chemical fact: the hydrogen bond is lot stronger if theparticipating atoms are “pointing at every other” (that is, if their bonds space inalignment), as presented in the sketch.

Note that since the G·C pair has three hydrogen bonds, whereas the A·T pair hasonly two, one would certainly predict the DNA containing plenty of G·C pairs would be morestable 보다 DNA containing numerous A·T pairs. In fact, this forecast isconfirmed. Heat reasons the two strands the the DNA dual helix to separate (aprocess dubbed DNA melting or DNAdenaturation); it have the right to be displayed that DNAs with greater G+C contentrequire higher temperatures to melt them.

Although hydrogen bonds space individually weak, the 2 strands the the DNAmolecule are hosted together in a reasonably stable manner because there areenormous number of these bonds. The is essential that the strands be associatedthrough together weak interactions, due to the fact that they have to be separated throughout DNAreplication and also during transcription right into RNA.

The two paired nucleotide strands immediately assume a double-helicalconfiguration (Figure 2-3), mainlythrough communication of the base pairs. The basic pairs, which are level planarstructures, stack on top of one another at the facility of the twin helix.Stacking (Figure 2-3c) adds come thestability the the DNA molecule by not included water molecule from the spacesbetween the base pairs. The many stable form that results from base stacking isa dual helix v two unique sizes that grooves running around in a spiral.These room the significant groove and the young groove, which deserve to be viewed in themodels. A solitary strand of nucleotides has actually no helical structure; the helicalshape the DNA depends entirely on the pairing and stacking of the bases inantiparallel strands.


DNA Structure mirrors Its Function

How walk DNA structure accomplish the requirements of a hereditary molecule? First,duplication. V the antiparallel orientation of the DNA strands, and also the rulesfor ideal base pairing, we deserve to envision just how DNA is faithfully duplicated: eachstrand serves as an unambiguous design template (alignment guide) because that the synthetic of that is complementarystrand. If, for example, one strand has actually the basic sequence AAGGCTGA (reading inthe 5′-to-3′ direction), then we immediately know that its complementarystrand have the right to have only the succession (in the 3′-to-5′ direction) TTCCGACT.Replication is based upon this simple rule. The two DNA strands separate, and also eachserves together a template for building a new complementary strand.

An enzyme dubbed DNA polymerase is responsible for structure newDNA strands, equivalent up each base that the new strand with the proper complementon the old, template strand. Thus, the complementarity the the DNA strandsunderlies the entire process of faithful duplication. This procedure will bedescribed more totally in Chapter4.

The 2nd requirement because that DNA is that it have informational content. Thisinformational necessity for DNA is fulfilled through its nucleotide sequence, whichacts as a kind of created language. The 3rd requirement, mutation, is simplythe occasional replacement, deletion, or enhancement of one or an ext nucleotidepairs, bring about a change of the encoded information.

See more: How Many Neutrons Are In Fluorine, Fluorine (F)


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Double-stranded DNA is composed of 2 antiparallel, interlockednucleotide chains, every consisting that a sugar-phosphate backbone withbases hydrogen-bonded with complementary bases that the otherchain.