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Chapter: Basic Concept of Biotechnology - Biomolecules

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Nucleosides and nucleotides

Nucleosides are molecules formed by attaching a nucleobase to a ribose or deoxyribose ring.

Nucleosides and nucleotides

Nucleosides are molecules formed by attaching a nucleobase to a ribose or deoxyribose ring. Examples of these include cytidine (C), uridine (U), adenosine (A), guanosine (G), thymidine (T) and inosine (I). Nucleosides can be phosphorylated by specific kinases in the cell, producing nucleotides. Both DNA and RNA are polymers, consisting of long, linear molecules assembled by polymerase enzymes from repeating structural units, or monomers, of mononucleotides. DNA uses the deoxynucleotides C, G, A, and T, while RNA uses the ribonucleotides (which have an extra hydroxyl (OH) group on the pentose ring) C, G, A, and U. Modified bases are fairly common (such as with methyl groups on the base ring), as found in ribosomal RNA or transfer RNAs or for discriminating the new from old strands of DNA after replication. Each nucleotide is made of an acyclic nitrogenous base, a pentose and one to three phosphate groups. They contain carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen and phosphorus. They serve as sources of chemical energy (adenosine triphosphate and guanosine triphosphate), participate in cellular signaling (cyclic guanosine monophosphate and cyclic adenosine monophosphate), and are incorporated into important cofactors ofenzymatic reactions (coenzyme A, flavin adenine dinucleotide, flavin mononucleotide, and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate).


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